Updated on 14 September 2012
Driven by the government's continuous support to develop infrastructure and a skilled workforce, South Korea is witnessing a rapid growth in the number of clinical trials that are being conducted. It is expected to reach 345 in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 26 percent. Korea National Enterprise for Clinical Trials (KoNECT) was founded in 2007 and is primarily focused on enhancing national competitiveness to help the country become a global clinical trial hub.
Strong regulatory reforms, systematic technology development, global business partnership systems, and balanced infrastructure development are driving the South Korean clinical trials market.
Singapore has several advantages that have encouraged proliferation of the clinical trials market. These include infrastructure, skilled workforce, regulatory approvals, intellectual property (IP) protections, and focus on translational medicine. The Singapore market was worth $132 million in
2010 and is expected to reach $166.5 million in 2015, with a CAGR of 4.4 percent. In Singapore, international pharma majors conduct more than 80 percent of all trials. This trend is likely to continue, with predominant focus on oncology, followed by clinical pharmacology and ophthalmology.
Taiwan's continuing government commitment and investment in infrastructure, focus on biomedical industry, promotion of R&D, along with increasing presence of international CROs are driving the clinical trials market there. International and regional trials (including China and Japan) account for two-thirds of clinical trials conducted in Taiwan. The Taiwanese market was valued at $114.9 million in 2010 and is expected to reach $209.7 million in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 13 percent.
For both Singapore and Taiwan, limited population size and less availability of skilled workforce would be a restraint for market expansion. The Taiwanese government's initiative to sign the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (EFCA) with China, allowing exchange of clinical trial data between the countries and engaging in regional trials in association with China and Japan, would help Taiwan tap the population in these countries and conduct late phase trials.
Clinical trials form an important bridge between a disruptive innovation and a successful drug. Drivers such as growing interest of pharma majors, investment in research infrastructure, oversized population, cost advantage, and favorable regulations are set to transform the APAC clinical trials market from an emerging market to a developed hub for global clinical trials.