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Expanding Opportunities for Drug Development in Asia

2015 Asia Events

Asian biopharmaceutical companies are developing more products for the global market

Over the last decade, R&D activities, pharmaceutical market size, and the number of clinical trials in Asia has grown tremendously.  As a result, Asian biopharmaceutical companies are developing more products for commercialization in the global market, and International drug development service companies have moved many R&D functions and commercial operations to the APAC region.

Expanding infrastructure, an evolving regulatory system, and large numbers of potential trial subjects makes Asia an important global hub for drug development.  Each of these areas is contributing to the rapid growth of clinical trials in the region and the accelerated growth of collaboration between drug sponsors and outsourced clinical trial service providers.

Regulatory Changes
Asian governments operating in a fragmented APAC region are making important reforms to their regulatory systems due to non-harmonized trial regulations.  This will allow them to better align with clinical research activity and facilitate drug approvals.  An increase in study numbers in the region is helping regulatory authorities better understand and develop practices which aim to provide regional communities with safe, efficacious, and affordable healthcare products.  In particular, regulatory changes in Asia are often aligned with changes adopted by the FDA and EMA, which continue to positively influence the review of local regulations.

Improved Infrastructure
Asian governments have appropriated funds for improving infrastructure important for clinical research including hospitals and medical centers.  Improved infrastructure provides the facilities and equipment needed for ever-increasing complex clinical research and trials.  It also enables potential collaboration between pharmaceutical sponsors and local hospitals for establishing and implementing trials.

Large numbers of Patients
Asia is home to 60% of the World's population, offering a tremendous pool of potential clinical trial patients for testing new compounds.  Similar to trends in the West, there is a growing aging population and an increasing number of people with chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.  High population densities in metropolitan areas, coupled with improved healthcare infrastructure, facilitates cost effective patient recruitment.

As the number of clinical trials continues to grow, drug sponsors establishing clinical trials in Asia often rely on the expertise of a commercial CRO with expertise, partnerships, and domestic markets experience to assist drug development.  We can expect that by leveraging local talent pool in China, Japan, Korea, India and Singapore, where most companies are concentrating, that the industry will see as much opportunity in APAC as in the US or Europe.

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