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Asia R&D migration continues in US

US-based pharmaceutical companies looking to speed up R&D are migrating to Asia, according to a report in the Washington Times newspaper

US-based pharmaceutical companies looking to speed up R&D are migrating to Asia, according to a report in the Washington Times newspaper.

The report says that Asia is becoming the new testing ground for companies looking to get the next blockbuster drug to the market in the shortest time possible.

Citing increasing domestic costs as the main reason for relocating clinical trials abroad, the report also reveals that the move will also allow drug companies to take advantage of the large populations of potential patients in developing countries, such as India and China, as they can gather data more quickly to hasten the drug-approval process in the home market.

David Lepay, senior adviser for clinical science at the FDA said in an interview that there was no question clinical research was globalising. He added that the moves did indeed expedite the product-development process in the US, which would be a positive public health benefit.

According to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, the number of drug companies conducting clinical trials worldwide jumped from 956 in 1997 to nearly 1,800 in 2006. Ten years ago, 86 per cent of all clinical trials were done in the US, but today 30 per cent of clinical trials are performed in countries outside the US and the EU, with only 57 per cent in the US.

The FDA is trying increase its drug-approval rate: the total number of blockbuster drugs approved is expected to rise from 94 in 2005 to 112 in 2007, according to IMS Health estimates.

Potential blockbusters to debut in 2008 include J&J's schizophrenia drug Invega (paliperidone), Wyeth's depression treatment Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) and Novartis' Galvus (vidagliptin) for diabetes.

13th December 2007

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