CRO momentum in Asia is picking up as Icon has partnered with a clinical research centre at the National Taiwan University Hospital to accelerate drug development on the Chinese island.
Under the terms of the agreement, the National Clinical Trials Research Centre (NCTRC) and Icon will collaborate on study start-up, site feasibility, key site and investigator selection and patient recruitment.
“This is a long-term commitment between Icon and NCTRC,” Wei Ming Goh, VP of Icon’s Asia-Pacific division, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. “Icon already has a strong position in Asia, with operations in 13 countries…we can further accelerate timelines for study start-up and patient recruitment which will benefit our customers and also enhance the Taiwanese clinical trials industry.”
Icon isn’t the first CRO to set up shop in Taiwan. US CRO Chiltern set up its own legal entity on the island in 2012 because client demand was so high, while QPS formed a joint venture to take a stab at the region and Parexel purchased a Taiwanese firm back in 2007.
Almost two years ago, six Asian CROs, including Taiwan’s StatPlus , also formed an alliance to compete with the Western CROs operating in the region.
Icon Partnership Details
As far as what the partnership will specifically focus on, there does not seem to be one dominant type of clinical trial or therapeutic area.
“This collaboration is not limited to any particular therapeutic area,” Goh said. “The 10 leading causes of death in Taiwan are cancer, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, pneumonia, diabetes, accidents, lower respiratory illness, hypertensive disease, chronic liver disease, and nephrotic syndrome and nephritis.
“Due to the prevalence of these diseases and consequently the access to patients, studies associated with these therapeutic areas may be more prevalent than others,” he added.