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