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Parexel: pharma competition will only get more intense

Melissa Fassbender

By Melissa Fassbender

Last updated on 14-Sep-2017 at 14:10 GMT2017-09-14T14:10:45Z

(Image: iStock/bedo)
(Image: iStock/bedo)

The clinical research environment in Japan has evolved dramatically since Parexel first began operations in the country, says the CRO, who recently established an alliance with a local cancer institute.

Last month the Waltham, MA-based company announced its alliance with the Osaka International Cancer Institute.

To learn more about the partnership and the company’s operations in Japan, Outsourcing talked with Shogo Nakamori, corporate vice president, clinical research services, Asia Pacific at Parexel.

What industry need has driven the need for this partnership?

The motivation behind this partnership was finding a way to address challenges related to patient recruitment and matching the right studies with the right sites. It also is strongly linked to the current focus on patient centric drug development.

Similar to the global trend, sponsors in Japan are more and more interested in validating their study designs with input from sites and patients, and better engaging patients who participate in their studies. Partnerships give sponsors a greater opportunity to get valuable input, something we took into consideration as a patient centric approach to drug development was another motivator for PAREXEL’s partnership with Osaka International Cancer Institute.

How do you expect this need to inform future partnerships of a similar nature?

Our partnership with the Osaka International Cancer Institute is one of several we have been progressing throughout the country, and the enthusiasm and commitment from our partners gives us renewed confidence as we move forward.

We will continue to watch for signs of what is going well and what can be improved, to ensure that we have an approach that fits well with the environment in Japan.

How has the clinical research environment evolved since PAREXELfirst began operating in the country?

The clinical research environment has evolved dramatically since PAREXEL opened its first Japanese office in Kobe, back in 1995. Back then, relationships with sites were mainly driven by large foreign and domestic pharmaceutical companies, with the role of the CRO being back-office support.

Today, global CROs like PAREXEL play a much more significant role and are well positioned to provide the best visibility into industry trends.

In what other countries or areas do you expect to see a similar trend?

As part of the 300+ alliance sites PAREXEL maintains globally, there are already 60+ similar partnerships across Asia Pacific, including China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Australia. The relationships are not only in the area of oncology/hematology, but cover a broad range of therapeutic areas.

We see the alliances in Japan as a strong addition, and many of our alliance sites are eager to better understand and adapt best practices from our partners in Japan. Our goal is not to simply maximize the number of partnerships, rather we are focused on ensuring that we establish an optimal number of mutually beneficial and sustainable relationships with select partners.

What do you expect from the next five years?

We expect to further develop our relationships with our partners, and to potentially increase the number slightly. The key will be to ensure that both sides can reap benefits and the clinical research environment in Japan to grow as a result of our activities.

The ultimate benefit should always be with the patient, and as a leading global provider of biopharmaceutical services in this area, we feel it is our responsibility to help deliver that benefit.

What specifically, is your vision for patient recruitment and cancer treatments in the future for this region?

As the industry trends toward more complicated clinical trials, personalized medicine, gene therapy, etc., we expect that it will only become more difficult to enroll the right patients and the competition between pharmaceutical companies will only get more intense. At PAREXEL, we believe that our approach of partnering with sites and focusing on the patient is the best path.

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