CROs in a Global State of Mind

CROs are keeping pace with the increased globalization of the biopharmaceutical/pharmaceutical industry through a combination of acquisitions, partnerships, and select investments. The author examines these activities as well as the partnership strategies of CROs with academia to broaden their scope.
Feb 01, 2013


APOSTROPHE PRODUCTIONS/GETTY IMAGES
The increased globalization of the pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical industry is reflective not only in the major players' shifting patterns of revenue growth from established to emerging markets, but also in their drug-development activities, including clinical research. Although the United States and Europe still account for a dominant share of global clinical-trial studies, Asia, particularly China, continues to rise in importance as a location for clinical research. As the number of clinical trials increase in Asia and other emerging markets in Latin America, the large CROs are too expanding into these markets using a combination of acquisitions, partnerships, and select internal investments.

Evaluating the numbers

Clinical research is becoming increasingly global in nature. Although the United States and Europe still represent the dominant destination for clinical studies, Asia and Latin America also are rising in importance as a location for clinical trials. ClinicalTrials.gov a public registry of clinical-trials information for federally and privately funded trials conducted under investigational new drug applications maintained by US National Institutes of Health, identifies 139,372 registered clinical studies in the US and 182 countries, according to data as of Jan. 25, 2013. US-only sites accounted for 41% of registered studies, and non-US only studies 43%. Six percent of registered studies are in both the US and outside the US, and in 9% of the studies, the location was not specified. The US and Canada combined account for 77,030 studies or 53.3% of the global total registered in ClinicalTrials.gov and Europe accounts for 37,454 or nearly 27%. East Asia (including China, but excluding Japan) has 11,954 studies or 8.6% of the global total, and Southeast and South Asia a combined 5320 registered clinical-trial studies or 3.8% of the global total, according to ClinicalTrials.gov. Mexico, Central America, and South America collectively have 8332 or 6.0% of the global number of registered clinical studies.