A presence in Seoul, Korea is the next step in the aggressive growth strategy inVentiv has pursued since being bought by private equity in 2010. inVentiv will use the base in Korea to help clients enter the growth market.
“As a $15bn (€11bn) pharmaceutical market expected to grow by significant margins over the next several years, Korea is an attractive opportunity for us”, Paul Meister, CEO of inVentiv, said.
Meister expects demand for outsourced sales and marketing to grow as US pharma companies expand product portfolios in the growth market. inVentiv is benefiting from this trend, inking a deal with a top 20 multinational pharma company, and is now positioned to compete for more business.
Observers expect the overall pipeline of contract sales business to grow. “It appears that the environment for contract sales continues to improve after contracting over the past four years”, John Kreger, equity analyst at William Blair, said in a note following PDI’s results.
Kreger expects growth to return as the period of pharma sales force downsizing ends. Also, the shift towards strategic outsourcing in clinical research, which inVentiv has added scale to compete for, is expected to spread to contract sales as big pharma adapts to loss of exclusivity on blockbuster drugs.
inVentiv has named Jae-Hee Kim, formerly of SmithKline Beecham and Quintiles, as president of its operations in Korea. Kim will now lead inVentiv as it expands its commercial and clinical services in Korea.
PharmaNet/i3, now the clinical unit at inVentiv, is already active in Korea, as are many other contract research organisations (CROs). Data from ClinicalTrials.gov showed study initiation in Korea rose 150 per cent from 2006 to 2009, in part because Japan has freed up companies to recruit from overseas.
An uptick in trial outsourcing to China, Taiwan and Korea followed the regulatory liberalisation. In March Alan Morgan, the then president of global clinical research services at Icon, told Outsourcing-Pharma the trend had made Korea a “very, very strong” market for the CRO.