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International Clinical Trials

The APAC Advantages


The search for a treatment or vaccine to alleviate the COVID-19 pandemic has put the clinical trials process firmly in the spotlight. However, even before this, pharmaceutical companies have been looking increasingly towards the countries of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region as a place to carry out clinical trials, as it offers several advantages over the traditional locations of the US and Europe.

Asia is the most populated continent in the world, with more than half of the total global population. It is also home to heterogeneous population groups, and many treatment-naïve patients. Furthermore, the high incidence of certain diseases in some Asian countries, for example, liver and lung cancers, makes them the preferred recruitment site for treatment trials for such conditions.

The cost of locating a clinical trial in Asia can also be significantly lower than in the US or Europe, with savings typically estimated at 30-40% (1). For example, the cost for each patient per visit in China, India, and Thailand combined is nearly equivalent to the per patient per visit cost in the US alone. Additionally, individual APAC countries have implemented strategies to encourage clinical trials, such as tax and custom exemptions to encourage productivity and profitability, and have expedited clinical trial registration and approval.

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Daniel Gao is General Manager ofCatalent's clinical supply facilities, Shanghai, China. In this role, he oversees clinical supply operations in China with an emphasis on local strategy, service delivery, quality, and operational excellence. His previous roles at Catalent include Account Director of Greater China, where he focused on developing business for Catalent China and the APAC region. Prior to joining Catalent, Daniel was the Head of Clinical Trials, China, for Cardinal Health. He holds an MBA from Ryerson University, Canada, with a specialisation in Supply Chain Management, and a Master’s degree in Project Management from Manchester University, UK.
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