The move – the latest in a line of additions to the company’s capabilities – will grant Quintiles’ clients exclusive access to the central lab for two years.
According to Thomas Wollman, senior VP of Quintiles Global Central Laboratories, the deal was essential after the government imposed laws banning the shipment of clinical trial samples to labs outside the country.
He told Outsourcing-Pharma: “Essentially if there is a trial to be done using patients from Indonesia, they want it [lab analysis] to be done there rather than shipping samples out.
“In reaction to these regulations, in conjunction with clients in Asia who collaborated with us on this, we completed the new expansion.”
Wollman added that the decision to extend its reach in Indonesia was driven largely by clients in the EU who want access to the countries 239m-strong population, and the un-tapped potential that holds.
Quintiles is not the only company to have faced the Indonesian government’s strict shipping laws, but is one of the few to persevere.
At Outsourcing-pharma's Patient Recruitment Outsourcing (PRO) conference earlier this year, James Tsui, contracts and outsourcing manager for Roche in Asia-Pacific, said his firm abandoned plans to open five sites in Indonesia after the rules were introduced, opting instead to work in Malaysia.
Trials in Indonesia
Of the research areas Quintiles is working with in Indonesia, Wollman remained relatively tight-lipped.
When asked what the firm’s focus would be, he said: “Where the multi national companies are going to be doing the research.”
However in a statement, Kerry Strydom, general manager of Quintiles Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Philippines, said it was important to study new and improved medicines using the populations for which they are intended, including “tobacco-related illnesses”.
Growing in Asia
Quintiles’ foray into Indonesia is part of the businesses focus on growth in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, according to Wollman.
But though the firm – already operating in Singapore, China, Japan and India – are now pondering a move into Korea, most developments would be in capabilities rather than geographically.
“From the lab business model perspective, if you can have fewer facilities and have higher value then it’s better,” Wollman said.
“We will work on things like developing the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics testing we brought into China, as well as our bioassay lab in Singapore.”
Quintiles’ deal in Indonesia follows expansions in both South Africa and the US – both bids to increase its offering both on the ground and globally.
Of the newly improved central lab in Centurion, South Africa – now offering testing capabilities for tuberculosis, microbiology services, HIV, immunofluorescence and flow cytometry – Wollman told us: “The push into looking into other tests like malaria and TB is us trying to suit not only Western pharma doing Western trials, but also to be a little more relevant within Africa.
“We want to service the Sub-Sahara market. The kind of client we would be aiming for would be ones like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the TB Alliance – none government none funded societies doing research in the Sub Sahara region.”