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News & Events August 24, 2022

WA’s only early phase clinical trials company is expanding massively amid huge demand for its life-saving work, opening a second state-of-the-art facility in Perth’s north.

Not long ago, bio-pharmaceutical companies had no reason to be interested in the State and cancer patients wanting to take part in drug trials had to fly elsewhere.

But that all changed in 2010 when the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research spun off a bold and ambitious start-up, Linear Clinical Research, using funds from the State Government and philanthropists.

“At that point in time, it was hard to translate medical research into new drugs and patients in WA couldn’t access these new breakthroughs that you could over in Melbourne and Sydney, and in the US,” chief executive Jayden Rogers told The West Australian.

“Harry Perkins actually passed away because he had a certain type of lung cancer and that trial wasn’t available here. He decided to stay here with his family rather than travel over east.

“Fast forward to now, we employ a team of 220 up to 250 people … and we are one of the preferred partners for global bio-pharmaceutical companies.

“They are coming to Australia in droves at the moment.”

The attraction is a quicker and more efficient regulatory environment than the US, cost advantages with currency exchange rates, and research and development rebates, Mr Rogers said.

He said demand for Linear’s services far exceeded its capacity, prompting the QEII Medical Centre-based organisation to open a new 24-bed facility at Joondalup.

Linear Chief executive Jayden Rogers

It’s one of the most sophisticated of its type in the Asia Pacific region and only the sixth ever built in Australia.

Linear was the sole phase one trial site for the Clover Biopharmaceuticals COVID-19 vaccine, which is targeting World Health Organisation approval and distribution this year of 400 million doses by GAVI, an organisation that improves access to vaccines for children living in impoverished countries.

Mr Rogers said the vaccine was particularly stable in more challenging storage conditions in Africa and parts of Asia, unlike the Pfizer and Moderna jabs.

Linear has also run seven trials of COVID treatments that are at various stages of development and has been among the world’s most active sites in early phase cancer trials, putting a wide range of next-generation therapies through their paces.

“We’ve seen amazing results here with what you call a complete response, where people’s cancer is no longer detectable,” Mr Rogers said.

“We’ve had a front row seat in that.

“People have said if it wasn’t for us, they wouldn’t be here – that’s really moving.”

Medical Research Minister Stephen Dawson said the new facility would create many jobs, help diversify WA’s economy and advance the State’s standing as a global leader in health and medical research.

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