Japanese company to make Adelaide the birthplace of clinical trial SMOs in Australia

30 March 2017

Tokyo-based I’rom Group Co Ltd has invested AUS$10m for a 61% share in CMAX Clinical Research Pty Ltd, a Phase 1 clinical trials unit in Adelaide, and plans to fully acquire CMAX after June 2017.

I’rom pioneered the Site Management Organisation (SMO) model for conducting clinical trials in Japan, a segment of the R&D market that is now valued at over AU$350 million a year in Japan, and employs more than 5,000 people.

Australia is yet to take advantage of this innovative model of conducting clinical trials, and I’rom will introduce SMOs to Australia from Adelaide.

The company also wants more clinical trials conducted in South Australia, especially through increasing the number of Asian companies conducting R&D in Adelaide.

I’rom’s presence will make South Australia an even more attractive location for Australian and overseas life sciences companies.


I’rom Group Co Ltd is an integrated healthcare company headquartered in Tokyo, providing clinical trials services as a Site Management Organisation (SMO).

SMOs coordinate the day-to-day operation of a clinical trial across sites from dedicated units like CMAX through to public and private hospitals.

SMOs can organise all aspects of a trial, including recruiting patients and liaising with bioanalytics companies like Adelaide’s CPR Pharma Services Pty Ltd. They can also train medical staff in proper and efficient implementation of clinical trials.

Benefits of this model include faster patient recruitment and more consistent patient follow-up, delivering studies cheaper and more efficiently.

Phase 1 clinical trials test a new biomedical intervention in a small group of people (approximately 20-80) to evaluate safety. This includes determining a safe dosage range and identifying side effects.

Each clinical trial in Adelaide injects between $100,000 and $2m into the South Australian economy.

CMAX’s new 50-bed Phase 1 clinical trials unit opened in 2016 and is located opposite Adelaide BioMed City, which is growing to become one of the largest clusters of life sciences infrastructure in the southern hemisphere, including:

  • The new Royal Adelaide Hospital
  • South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
  • The University of Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences building
  • University of South Australia’s Health Innovation Building
  • Centre for Cancer Biology

Quotes attributable to Health Industries Minister Jack Snelling

The South Australian Government has a clear plan for transforming the local economy.

The life sciences sector is an important part of this— it delivers hi-tech, high value jobs for South Australians.

Quotes attributable to Chief Executive of Health Industries South Australia Marco Baccanti

The South Australian Government, through Health Industries South Australia, provided I’rom with practical support.

This support included approaching SA Health and its principal investigators about using SMOs for clinical trials across the public health system.

Quotes attributable to I’rom Group Co Ltd CEO and President Toyotaka Mori

We were impressed by the level of support provided by Health Industries South Australia.

From the time we started looking at Adelaide, Health Industries South Australia was easily accessible and we appreciated how positive they were about our investment and future plans in Adelaide.

I’rom chose to grow its SMO business in Australia from Adelaide—the ideal place to do business.

Adelaide is a focal point in health and life sciences – a city where industry, government and academia work closely together, developing new medical technologies including regenerative and gene therapy.

Quotes attributable to CMAX Clinical Research Chief Executive Officer Jane Kelly

CMAX has a 23-year history in delivering R&D in Adelaide.

In that time, our expert staff has helped conduct more than 550 trials.

With our new 50-bed facility, and the backing of I’rom, CMAX is set for a bigger and better future.

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