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Crown and SNBL partner for challenging Japanese CRO market

By Fiona BARRY , 29-Apr-2014
Last updated the 29-Apr-2014 at 18:01 GMT

(Picture: Flickr/Richard Garside)
(Picture: Flickr/Richard Garside)

Crown Bioscience has teamed up with Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories (SNBL) to navigate obstacles in the Japanese outsourcing market.

Crown, a US company providing drug development services, chose Japanese contract research organisation SNBL to promote its preclinical drug discovery platforms for its local expertise in a region which can be difficult to penetrate, it told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.

A lot of western and international CROs have found the Japanese market a different challenge,” Mike Prosser, senior director of business development, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.  

The buying behaviour is different – there’s a relative hesitancy to outsourcing, especially earlier in the drug development spectrum, at the discovery stage.

‘Local relationships’

Much Japanese outsourcing is based on local relationships, Prosser told us. “Trust is critical and you don’t build that overnight.

SNBL are the largest preclinical CRO in Japan, and business in Japan is about local presence and local relationships and trust. They have that with their clients and as such they are now able to provide Crown with an unrivalled presence across the Japanese market.”

Japan is showing “increased awareness of the benefits of outsourcing,” said the Crown director, adding that based on the penetration of the CRO market so far, “the potential there is very significant.

A report released this week found that although Japan has traditionally been somewhat closed to using CROs, the market has expanded over the last decade, reaching ¥133bn ($213bn) in 2012.

Oncology now, CVMD later

Crown had also picked SNBL because of the companies’ shared specialties, Prosser told us.

There’s a synchronous platform between the two companies; SNBL’s principle business is preclinical development and they partner in discovery services.

While oncology is Crown’s core preclinical business and will be the main focus of the agreement, “we hope in the future to collaborate with SNBL on cardiovascular metabolic disease (CVMD),” said Prosser, especially as Crown could benefit from the CRO’s non-human primate work.

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