INC Research has opened a new clinical operations facility in South Korea in a bid to grab a slice of what it says is a “promising” research market.
The facility – in Gangnam-gu, Seoul – provides a local base for clients looking to conduct Phase I to IV trials in a number of therapeutic areas, including central nervous system (CNS) disorders, oncology, infectious diseases, cardiovascular and endocrinology.
Work will be carried out through partnerships with Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) accredited sites and clinical trial centre support programs from the South Korea National Enterprise for Clinical Trials (KoNECT).
Speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma.com, president of EMEA and Asia/Pacific region Kelvin Logan said INC has been working in the region for some time, but with a growing demand for work the firm recognised the need for an official hub there.
“The sites are excellent and the investigators and our clinical research staff are all highly trained in the country,” he said.
Logan told us the growing number of “key” biopharmaceutical companies with operations in the area has also contributed to the decision.
He added: “South Korean companies, for example, have a significant position in the development of biosimilars.”
Not the cheapest in the Asian market
Logan also said the firm is focusing on more expansions in a number of other cost-effective Asian markets.
He admitted South Korea is not the cheapest of the bunch, but that a host of other benefits – such as better regulatory and operational aspects compared with neighbouring countries – puts working in the country high on INC’s list of priorities, as well as a number of other outsourcing firms .
“While it is not the cheapest country in Asia in which to operate it is a significant pharmaceutical market in its own right,” he said.
Logan also said a wide acceptance of data collected in the country makes South Korea very attractive for clinical trials. “Importantly the patient data from the country is relevant for marketing submissions in other key Asian countries like China and Japan and is well accepted as part of international new drug applications,” he said.
However, when asked if INC will set up any of its own units there, Logan told us he does not expect any plans.
“We work with a number of dedicated early phase units, in Asia, Australia and New Zealand particularly, but we do not plan to own or manage our own medical or pharmacology facilities in the region.”