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New report estimates non-animal models represent a $1.5 billion opportunity for Australia

Manufacturing News

New modelling published by CSIRO estimates that non-animal models for medical product development have the potential to create $1.5 billion in revenue and 5,000 jobs by 2024.

Animals are typically used as part of R&D and testing to ensure the safety and effectiveness of new medical products, according to CSIRO. Non-animal models can use “human-derived” cells, tissues or data, with “organ-on-a-chip” technologies an example. 

According to a statement from the scientific agency on Thursday these are growing in sophistication and “surpassing the performance of traditional animal models” in some lab applications.

Greg Williams, health and biosecurity lead at CSIRO Futures, said Australia had the potential to grow its expertise in this field and generate new revenues.

“They offer the potential to better predict human responses and ‘fast fail’ medical products at an earlier stage, allowing savings to be reinvested into medical products that are more likely to succeed,” explained Williams.

The report – Non-animal models: A strategy for maturing Australia’s medical product development capabilities – looks at opportunities in non-animal models in terms of:

  • Complex in vitro models for drug discovery;
  • Organ-specific models for pre-clinical development;
  • Personalised models for trial participant and clinical treatment selection; and
  • On-shore production of model components.

Collaborators on the new report include National Health and Medical Research Council, Phenomics Australia, University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.

Picture: Microscope image of an intestinal organoid (credit CSIRO)

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