“The benefits of operating in Japan certainly outweigh the challenges,” said Atsushi Ogawa, president, PRA Japan.
Additionally, the reliance on contract research organizations (CROs) is increasing in Japan, he said, and sponsors have a need for research and development partners. This is due in part to the globalization of the industry, with an increasing number of studies in Japan being multi-national in nature.
“Another key benefit of operating in Japan is that we can bring in talented, experienced staff members with valuable expertise in the market,” said Ogawa, adding that the country has a motivated workforce who wants to grow and innovate.
In line with this, PRA has offices in the Kansai area, including Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara, which Ogawa said are ideal locations for a CRO due to the proximity to pharmaceutical companies, universities, hospitals, and research laboratories.
“The Kansai area also attracts great talent because the commute time is short, land prices are lower, and the transportation network is in place,” he added. “The area is a wonderful place to maintain work-life balance.”
Still, the market is challenged by the combination of “high people costs and processes being largely relationship-based,” said Ogawa, adding that this means cost per patient is high with any provider.
However, PRA is looking forward, he said, and aims to make Japan a more cost-effective global country to select for trials and Japan-only studies more effective.
“The pharmaceutical R&D landscape is changing, and the future is challenging us to innovate our delivery methods. PRA is leveraging its corporate investments in data and technology to benefit the Japanese market,” added Samir Shah, executive vice president and president, strategic solutions at PRA Health Science.
Among the company’s scalable, proprietary solutions moving into the Japanese market are Clinical 6, Symphony, Prism, and Predictivv, Shah told us.
Additionally, PRA late last month announced that it has bought out its joint venture with Takeda, thus establishing a new subsidiary based in Japan: PRA Health Sciences K.K.
The addition of Takeda’s staff increases PRA’s totals employee numbers to 450 in Japan, with the opportunity for near term growth – which is occurring rapidly in the country, said Shah.