Updated on 18 September 2013
This survey finding should certainly bring cheers in the board rooms of the nearly 300 CROs operating in the Asia Pacific region. Various scandals involving CROs in the region related to mishandling trials, inadequate controls or falsification of data or even deaths of patients enrolled in trials do not seem to have dimmed the overall enthusiasm for the clinical trials industry.
It is clearly evident that pharma companies who are the main outsourcers of clinical trials have been convinced that a few black sheep in the clinical trial industry do not represent the overall industry conduct. Just take the recent scandal from Australia. Even in the highly regulated and respected Australian landscape, a CRO was found to have mishandled and falsified data in a cancer drug trial. This has been treated as an one-off bad case the industry enthusiasm for Australian CROs have not dimmed.
An interesting finding of the BioSpectrum-CMR study, which was done during July-August 2013, is that China and India, along with South Korea continue to account for more than two-thirds of outsourced clinical trials. Australia and Taiwan are also highly competitive market for clinical trials. These countries remain hotspots mainly because of the willingness of patients to enroll in critical trials in large numbers. Some of the regulatory delays in the two major markets of India and China do not seem to have dimmed the enthusiasm for clinical trials. Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are also emerging as good locations to conduct clinical trials.
The survey has revealed that majority of the CRO companies in the region are in the $50 million annual revenue range and the ticket size of most trial projects are in the $1-5 million range. There are just a handful of CROs with annual revenues exceeding $500 million. An overwhelming 79 percent of the CROs are full service organizations providing a wide range of services.