As a private clinical research business working with the world’s largest pharmaceuticals and biotech companies, Optimal Clinical Trials is building Aotearoa New Zealand’s global reputation for quality clinical research. At the forefront of global changes in the medical and healthcare sector, Optimal plays a significant role in research that can transform lives and make a positive impact on the world.
Winner of the Westpac Auckland Business Awards and a Deloitte Fast 50 company, Optimal Clinical Trials specialises in commercial phase 1b to 3 trials across a range of therapeutic areas. The medical researcher aims to inspire hope and aid medical discoveries that can help people gain a better quality of life through more efficient and more accessible treatments.
With sponsors (customers) including Pfizer, GSK, Boehringer Ingelheim, Gilead, AstraZeneca, and a host of other global companies, the independently owned clinical research site has grown rapidly since its inception in 2013 and is now the largest outpatient private research company in New Zealand.
Supported by the world’s growing interest in medicine in the wake of Covid-19 and a better understanding of the importance of medical research within New Zealand, Optimal has contributed to the development of several vaccinations including for Covid-19, and new trial treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, obesity, and coeliac disease.
Most recently, Optimal contributed significantly to the first respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine to be approved globally for older adults. The vaccine, Arexvy, is the result of decades of research and has proven efficacy in reducing the impact of RSV for adults over 60, who are at high risk for severe disease.
Optimal’s Managing Director and Principal Investigator, Dr Barney Montgomery, says Optimal is proud to be making a name for Aotearoa New Zealand in markets including the United States, Europe and Asia, with another recent research project playing a major role in developing guidelines for how doctors are taught to treat asthma patients.
“We heavily contributed to research that found a two-in-one inhaler containing both a preventer and a reliever reduced the risk of a severe asthma attack significantly, compared to usual reliever inhalers. The value of this research is immense in New Zealand, where one in eight adults suffer with asthma.”
These findings were published in the world’s leading medical journal – the New England Journal of Medicine, and led to a change in international guidelines the following year.
“It’s not often we see the impact of our research that quickly, so to see a direct impact to global guidelines made it a very humbling project for Optimal to be a part of,” shares Dr Montgomery.
When asked what it takes to conduct great clinical research trials, Dr Montgomery explains how international sponsors are attracted to New Zealand because of its reputation for reliable, honest, and high-quality medical research and systems.
“We’re fortunate in New Zealand to be known for our quality, integrity and reliability. Our regulatory environment and streamlined ethics review systems give us an agility and speed to market advantage that attracts overseas sponsors.”
Establishing itself as a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise customer in 2016, Optimal went on to become a member of New Zealand Story’s FernMark Licence Programme in 2020. Dr Montgomery says carrying the FernMark provides Optimal with a symbolic link to New Zealand’s positive reputation and the stamp of credibility and authenticity needed to enable its growth in international markets.
The core New Zealand values of Tiaki (care for people and place), Pono (acting with integrity, honesty, and transparency), and Manaaki (welcoming relationships based on respect) are what the FernMark represents, and closely align with Optimal's own values. Dr Montgomery believes carrying the FernMark represents these values to sponsors, and instils confidence that Optimal can deliver expert, high-quality, and ethically sound studies.
Driven by the value and impact of its research, Optimal Clinical Trials continues its mission to help people live longer, happier, and healthier lives, not just in New Zealand, but around the globe.
To find out more about Optimal Clinical Trials, visit optimalclinicaltrials.com