The APAC Powerhouse 10 Jan 2023

The APAC Powerhouse

In the last 10 years, the Asia Pacific Region has become a clinical trials hotspot contributing almost 50% of new clinical trial activity globally. A new infographic analysis by Citeline's Trialtrove shows some fascinating facts and figures - here are some headlines:

1 - An Overall Increase In Trials
Phase 1-4 Trial Starts

APAC                                                            ROW

2012 - 4,562                                                2012 - 8080

2021 - 7718                                                  2021 - 7,801

The continuation of this trend should see APAC surpass RoW as soon as 2023.

2 - A Shift to more Early-Stage Research

Clinical Trial Starts in APAC by phase, 2012 vs 2021

2012                                                              2021

Phase 1 - 14%                                                Phase 1 - 33%

Phase 2 - 30%                                              Phase 2 - 30%

Phase 3 - 21%                                               Phase 3 - 16%

Phase 4 - 35%                                              Phase 4 - 21%

This shift would indicate greater levels of innovation in APAC - particularly China. More drugs than ever are being discovered by companies based in this region. China is the 2nd leading location for R&D globally, with South Korea, Japan and Australia also in the Top 10.

3 - Trial Starts by Trial Site Location - China By Far Leads the Way

2012                                                              2021

China  - 1138                                                 China  - 4751

Japan - 1561                                                 Japan - 875

South Korea - 804                                       South Korea (2020) - 705

India - 554                                                    India - 738

Australia - 498                                             Australia (2020) - 686

4 - Emerging Trends

China’s Dominance is evident in the scale of growth there. With the largest population in the world, it has huge market opportunities and a massive set of potential patients to enrol in trials. China has streamlined its approval processes, frequently updates its Drug List, prioritising newly approved novel drugs. Rules also offer financial advantages to pre-revenue/pre-profit biotech companies including stock exchange listing. 

Japan is the most popular APAC location for Big Pharma with 3,645 trials by leading multinational pharma companies in the last 10 years having at least 1 Japanese site. Japan has an excellent reputation and long history in the field.

South Korea leads the way in innovative trial design with the highest percentage of umbrella and basket trials. 

Australia is a hub for multi-region trials and first-in-human studies. Over 4,000 MRCT’s have been conducted there. Australia also has a streamlined regulatory framework and close cultural and economic ties with the west. It also has a strong reputation for early-phase trials and a robust network of specialised Phase 1 sites. It is also the location of choice for some Chinese companies looking to develop their drugs internationally to help accelerate development timelines. 

India has been at the forefront, with China, in COVID-19 research 

In summary, Asia Pacific has long contributed to worldwide clinical research but its recent rise is leading it toward becoming a global powerhouse. Half of all new trials are taking place in APAC and there is a growth in drug discovery in the region. China will continue to lead, but each major country has its own features which makes them an attractive proposition for clinical research. 

Back to the list


COREX Logistics is a supply and logistics company with headquarters in Ireland, working with pharma and patients to facilitate improved healthcare worldwide.

Our expert international team works across an 80-country network, specialising in the EMEA region, providing the latest in clinical trial logistics technology and systems, cold-chain delivery, temperature-controlled transportation and storage services. From sourcing, procurement and customs clearance, to labelling, returns and destruction, we cover every link in the supply chain. We also run an established Named Patient Programme and provide Patient-Oriented services. With extensive knowledge and on-the-ground insight into our markets, we create innovative solutions with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of patients.

To learn more about our range of expert services, contact us today on

If you found this article helpful, consider sharing it with others who might also benefit from it. Sharing knowledge is a wonderful thing to do and can be very helpful to others.


We’re here to help.
Email us at or use our feedback form to send us your question.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy.