CMAX leverages Australia’s highly efficient research process to deliver safe, effective and fast clinical trials to global clients.
CMAX Clinical Research is one of Australia’s oldest and most experienced independent clinical trials facilities.
Over 28 years, the company has developed strong working relationships with medical experts. This means it can deliver quality clinical trials to its global biopharmaceutical clients.
‘They say you’re only as good as your last clinical trial,’ says CMAX CEO Jane Kelly. ‘Quality drives the pursuit of excellence in everything we do here.’
CMAX operates out of a custom-built, 66-bed facility in the centre of Adelaide’s BioMed City. The company leverages Australia’s highly efficient research process to deliver fast results to exacting quality and safety standards.
CMAX mainly works with US and Chinese biopharmaceutical companies. An increasing number of companies from Korea and Taiwan are also using CMAX’s services. These countries host the largest biopharmaceutical industry clusters. CMAX services are of great interest because approval processes are slower in the US and China than in Australia.
‘What makes CMAX special is that we’re a key player in the clinical trials landscape in Australia,’ says Kelly.
‘Australia has well-documented advantages as to why companies choose us to run their clinical trials. These include quick start-up times, efficient regulatory systems, high ethical standards, the quality and portability of the data we produce, and cost competitiveness.’
Drug development is an expensive process. This means any time saved in the development process is highly sought after.
CMAX specialises in early-phase trials, which require intensive medical and clinical oversight.
Australia has a mature early-phase clinical trial ecosystem. Within this system, CMAX was the first early-phase unit to set up.
The major exporting challenge for CMAX has been getting its message out to a global market. ‘It's really about selling the Australian story,’ says Kelly. ‘Selling the South Australian story and selling the CMAX story.’
Austrade’s assistance in this area is invaluable, according to Kelly. ‘Austrade has set up in-country meetings, been present at conferences and organised contingents to speak at various events internationally,’ she says.
‘CMAX has also received support from the South Australian Government in attaining trade missions and client meetings overseas.’
Demand from global clients is growing. ‘In recent years, we’ve seen massive growth in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan,’ says Kelly.
‘Export is everything to our business. CMAX is a 100% service provider for both local and international clients. Currently, more than 90% of our clients are based abroad.’
Kelly notes that reputation is very important to overseas customers. ‘Our ability to deliver world-class clinical trials for one international company is often discussed with their industry peers,’ she says.
‘This results in more overseas customers enquiring about our capabilities and asking us to tender for their business. This snowball effect is certainly evident at the current time.’
Demand for fast, effective clinical trials has increased even more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia and Adelaide’s low community transmission compared with other regions in the world has been a competitive advantage.
‘Selling South Australia and its benefits to the world has been foremost in our mind, especially in these challenging times,’ says Kelly.
CMAX has seen major increases in business over the past 2 years, particularly from Europe. The company almost doubled export sales to the region in the 2020–21 financial year.
In early 2021, CMAX launched Fusion Clinical Research. This business arm broadens the CMAX service range to include later-phase studies. This is often one of the last steps before a company can obtain full drug approval.
‘The Fusion model is a community-based clinical trial model. It enables GPs and their patients to participate in clinical trials,’ says Kelly.
‘They can benefit from increased revenue streams and gain access to clinical trial therapies for their patients. This new offering differentiates us from our competitors, who tend to specialise in early-phase studies only.’
Kelly says she is very proud of CMAX. She’s particularly pleased with the company’s expansion over the past 2 years, despite COVID-19 headwinds.
‘We started 28 years ago with five staff. We now have 285 staff. I’m just so proud of the team. They have displayed such resilience, dedication and hard work, particularly during the pandemic and our growth phase. I couldn’t be prouder.’