Health Industry Forum

The Health Industry Forum is an opportunity to discuss cross portfolio issues with stakeholders from a range of industry sectors, including but not limited to pharmaceuticals and health technologies, chemicals and plastics, and the food manufacturing industries.

Second Meeting of the Health Industry Forum

The 2nd Health Industry Forum was held on 12 November 2015, jointly chaired by The Hon Christopher Pyne MP, former Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science and The Hon Sussan Ley MP, former Minister for Health. Thirty-three representatives from the food manufacturing, pharmaceutical, medical devices and plastics and chemicals sectors participated in the Forum. The Forum commenced with a series of topical presentations on the theme of research connections.

The Australian Synchrotron

As part of the forum, participants received a presentation on the operations of the Australian Synchrotron from Emma Liepa (Head of Industry Engagement and Communications at the Australian Synchrotron). The presentation highlighted the capabilities of the Synchrotron and encouraged organisations to make use of the facilities for their R&D activities.

Entrepreneurs’ Programme and Industry Growth Centres Initiative

Presentations were also provided on the Entrepreneurs’ Programme (by Joanne Mulder, General Manager Accelerating Commercialisation & Research Connections Branch, AusIndustry) and the Industry Growth Centres Initiative (by David Lawrence, General Manager Growth Centres Branch). Both presentations highlighted opportunities for organisations in the health industry for growth and innovation.

National Health and Medical Research Council Priorities and Industry Linkages

An update from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) was provided by Samantha Robertson (Executive Director, Evidence, Advice and Governance, NHMRC), highlighting the three themes of the NHMRC strategic plan as Investment, Translation and Integrity. The NHMRC has established two new advisory committees, the Health Advisory Committee (HTAC) and the Health Innovation Advisory Committee (HIAC). The discussion noted that government scientific priorities link in with clinical trials reform and the boosting of commercialisation returns.

Clinical Trials

The update also provided an overview of the NRHMC’s role in clinical trials reform, noting the funding that has been provided to expedite clinical trials. Points covered in this discussion included:

  • The piloting of a ‘Good Practice Process’ to streamline clinical trial site assessment authorisation;
  • Development of criteria for the Clinical Trials Ready initiative to incentivise institutional improvements in clinical trials quality, timeliness and transparency; and
  • Ongoing support for education and training of clinical trials proponents.

The Forum also considered the inconsistencies created by differences between states in how clinical trials are managed. Minister Ley undertook to take this issue to the COAG Clinical Trials Jurisdictional Working Group.

National Innovation and Science Agenda

Minister Pyne discussed the forthcoming National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) and its development. It was noted that the NISA would assist organisations in the health industry to bring R&D activities through to commercialisation. Key themes of the agenda that were discussed included:

  • Commercialising research;
  • Raising capital and enabling risk;
  • Government as an ‘exemplar’; and
  • Fostering talent and skills.

These themes were the catalyst for discussions by participants during the Forum, with existing activities being acknowledged and consideration being given as to how additional work could align with these themes.

Minister Pyne noted that the NISA would be released in December 2015.

Innovation and Regulation Reform

The impact of regulation on innovation was discussed, with examples of regulation impeding innovation provided. Participants were welcoming of the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda’s principle of trusted international standards but raised concerns with its implementation.

Next meeting of the Health Industry Forum

The next meeting of the Health Industry Forum is expected to take place in the first half of 2017.