Nucleus Network connects Asia to the world for early-stage clinical trials

Nucleus Network is helping biotech companies bring their innovations from bench to bedside.

Nucleus Network is bringing Australian clinical trial expertise to the world. The US and Europe already make up 80% of its business. The dedicated clinical trial operator has now turned its attention to Asia.

‘Demand from China, Korea, India and Southeast Asia is growing,’ says Nucleus Network’s Chief Executive Officer, Teena Pisarev. ‘Investment capabilities in the region are expanding, creating a wealth of opportunities in the biotechnology sector. As companies reinvest in critical technologies, the potential for innovation and growth continues to rise.’

Nucleus Network will open a Phase I site in Sydney later this year. This will create 100 new jobs, enabling Nucleus Network to commence over 40 new studies annually. This increase in operational capacity helps shorten the time-frame of treatments coming to market.

‘We are expanding Nucleus Network’s capacity in 2024,’ says Pisarev. ‘Our location and expertise allow us to connect Asia to the world. Thanks to partners such as Austrade, Nucleus Network is accessing new and emerging markets in this dynamic region.’

Australia’s clinical trial expertise shapes medical research

Nucleus Network is Australia’s largest Phase I clinical trial provider. The company employs 600 staff globally, with clinics in Brisbane, Melbourne, Geelong and Minneapolis in the US. It is the world’s only multi-site, multi-country, Phase 1 clinical trial specialist, operating in Australia and the US.

Nucleus Network specialises in Phase I and first-in-human clinical trials. The company has more than 20 years of expertise, managing over 1,500 clinical trials. During the pandemic, it conducted first-in-human COVID-19 vaccine trials for Symvivo Corporation and Novavax.

The company conducts around 100 trials each year. With 200,000 volunteer patients on its database, clients can benefit from Australia’s large, multicultural population for clinical trials.

An acquisition in 2018 by Australian private equity firm Crescent Capital Partners gave Nucleus Network the opportunity to scale and broaden its research capability.

By 2019, Nucleus Network had grown its capabilities and number of trial participants. It expanded to additional facilities in Brisbane (Q-Pharm) and the US (Prism). In 2022, Blackstone, one of the world's largest private equity firms, bought the company, providing an even bigger platform for growth.

Sixteen people dressed in business attire at a tradeshow, smiling in front of signs with company logos.

The Nucleus Network team together with Austrade at Bio Korea, May 2024.

A top destination for clinical trials

Today, Nucleus Network is working to support international medical and biotechnology research worldwide. This includes projects in China, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the US (its largest market) and Europe.

Australia is an attractive destination for clinical trials. This is thanks to a robust regulatory system that allows a fast and practical pathway to set up and commence studies. Clinical trials in Australia follow the highest standards of international good clinical practice (Source: Australian Clinical Trials, ‘Why conduct your clinical trial in Australia, Jan 2024, Accessed March 2024). International agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) accept and trust Australian clinical trials data.

‘We offer companies a safe and rapid process,’ says Pisarev. ‘This is underpinned by our commitment to quality. We are a growing gateway from Asia to the world, helping companies to get their innovations from bench to bedside.’

Australia also offers grants and incentives that can help reduce the cost of clinical trials. The Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive provides offsets for suitable research and development.

Learn more about why Australia is a top destination for clinical trials.

Austrade supports global growth

Austrade has been supporting Nucleus Network to grow internationally for more than 10 years. Austrade provides business-matching services, introductory meetings, market insights and bespoke servicing. Austrade is also working with the company to explore two-way trade and investment opportunities.

In November 2023, Austrade invited Nucleus Network to be a keynote speaker at a forum showcasing Australian clinical trial capabilities to an international audience. Austrade has also invited the company to participate at global biotech events including BIO KOREA and BIO-US. Nucleus Network has gained new international partners as a result of these events.

‘Thanks to Austrade, we continue to build our profile in international markets, biotech industries, health sectors and conferences,’ says Pisarev. ‘When Austrade partners with us when entering new markets, it helps to create trust and confidence. I would encourage any eligible business to reach out to Austrade.’

Improving sustainability across the business

In 2024, Nucleus Network is launching a refreshed ESG strategy. The strategy will improve the company’s footprint around community, partners, energy, waste and paper.

Through a digital platform called ClinSpark, for example, Nucleus Network will become paperless by 2025. This will save 4,000,000 pieces of paper each year. The program is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

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