Updated on 12 September 2012
Asia has potential for clinical trials but no country has yet emerged as a clear winner
Over the past few decades, research on clinical trials has enjoyed a rapid boom around the world. According to CenterWatch, an established source of information about clinical trials, an estimated 100,000 clinical trials are being carried out at any one time in more than 100 countries.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)'s 2011 profile also estimated that the top 20 pharmaceutical companies globally invested a total of $96 billion on research and development (R&D) for new medicines in 2010.
Against this backdrop of growth, Asia has risen as a force to be contended with in the clinical trials sector. There are a number of good reasons why the region has become the focus of companies and investigators conducting clinical trials to test new drugs.
The pharmaceutical market in Asia is the fastest growing in the world, given that more than 60 percent of the world's population is living here. The sheer size of its market equates to wide availability of talent and resources.
Many Asian countries are also experiencing aging population and the rise of the middle class. This means that chronic and lifestyle diseases may become new epidemics in this region. There are also diseases such as cancers of the liver, stomach and nasopharynx, which are unique or particularly prevalent among certain ethnic groups in this part of the world.
Clearly, Asia is rich with research opportunities and this could potentially yield drugs with far-reaching impact for the world.