Hosted by Korea Health Industry Development Institute (President Kwon Soon-man) and Chungcheongbuk-do (Governor Lee Si-jong) and sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, BIO KOREA 2021 was held June 9-11 in COEX Seoul. In its 16th run this year, BIO KOREA has introduced the technological level of Korea’s pharmaceutical and bio industries to the world.
This year, the emphasis was on collaboration with global institutions and companies. BIO KOREA 2021 examined innovative changes in technology and directions in the biohealth industry in response to the new normal era. Unlike last year’s BIO KOREA 2020, which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was successfully held in a hybrid format with conferences, exhibitions, business forums, investment fairs, and job fair programs simultaneously held online and offline.
The ultimate goal of the “Post-BIO KOREA Special: Grasps the Korea-Australia business opportunity” is to promote collaboration opportunities between the two countries and investment in the Australian market.
The Australian Trade and Investment Commission of the Australian Embassy in Korea participated in BIO KOREA 2021 and introduced 28 Australian companies representing a wide range of capabilities in the bio field. A non-face-to-face interview was conducted with an official from one of those companies, Australia first clinical trial company CMAX.
Q1. What kind of company is CMAX?
CMAX has been a leading provider of early clinical trials for nearly 30 years and is one of Australia’s most recognized clinical trial companies. CMAX has a long track record in Australia of conducting first healthy volunteer studies.
The modern, custom built initial stage unit has 66 inpatient beds and is adjacent to Adelaide’s Bio-Med City, providing access to state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and world-class medical and pharmacological experts. Clinical trials in Australia are known for their fast start and cost competitiveness.
CMAX can take advantage of this R&D tax incentive scheme in Australia.
Q2. What are your achievements so far?
Our strength lies in our complex and aggressive early-stage research. We have a strong team of clinical pharmacologists, and they safely oversee the research with their expertise as Chief Investigators.
Building on these strengths, the company has conducted over 700 trials, including over 140 first trials in human studies for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and device companies since 1993. Especially, more than 90% of the trials were for international sponsors and CROs who wish to take advantage of Australia’s early-stage ecosystem.
Q3. Were there any issues such as the possibility of cooperation with foreign companies, especially Korean, and the development of relationships after BIO KOREA 2021?
In recent years, the proportion of work in Asia has been increasing, and about 35% of the total work is done in Asia. Especially, Korea is one of the fastest growing and attractive markets for CMAX.
Also, over the past five years, more than 8% of CMAX’s work came from Korean biopharmaceutical companies. Most of the projects CMAX has been working on with Korean companies have been related to carrying out new macromolecular programs in human research.
By becoming a part of Bio Korea 2021, we were able to work with several interesting Korean biopharma companies. Through the exhibition, we had the opportunity to submit budget proposals for some Korean companies and projects, and we are also communicating with each other regarding other projects. Several other Korean companies wanted to discuss potential projects they had planned for the future, and we are delighted to be able to provide assistance in this regard.
Q4. The Australian government is providing support to the biohealth industry, including direct investment in health and medical research and providing R&D support programs. As an Australian company, have you used these programs when working with foreign companies?
Of course, there are government programs that CMAX and other sponsors can benefit from. Many of our sponsors are taking advantage of the R&D Tax Incentive Scheme, an Australian government program designed to encourage SMEs (Small and Medium-sized enterprises) to engage in R&D activities in Australia.
The program allows early biotech companies with annual turnover of less than $20 million to receive a cash refund of up to 43.5% on Australian R&D expenses, and large companies can claim non-refundable tax of approximately 38.5% of R&D expenditures in Australia.
Also, Australian Trade and Investment Commission from each country played a major role in introducing and connecting Korean and Australian companies seeking information on clinical trials in Australia.
Q5. Are there issues regarding business revitalization between Korea and Australia and cooperation you would like to share?
There are many opportunities for Australian and Korean companies to collaborate in clinical development field. Korea has a reputation for high-quality clinical research, especially late-stage research, and Australia has a well-formed and mature early-stage clinical ecosystem. The synergy between the two countries and companies is expected to provide endless opportunities for clinical development.
If you have any questions about Korean biopharmaceutical companies’ clinical trials in Australia or especially CMAX’s services, please feel free to contact us. I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet in person in Korea or Australia.
The Australian Trade and Investment Commission of the Australian Embassy in Korea provides various services for Australian companies to successfully enter overseas markets through a global network. It is also engaging in activities to attract foreign direct investment to Australia and overseas marketing of the Australian education sector. It is in charge of helping cooperation with Australian companies when needed.