Large investments by pharmaceutical firms in emerging economies are also driving growth in cell biology. Asia, in particular China, is the leading target for these investments and, if the trend continues, is expected to surpass Europe in R&D intensity within the next three to four years. An example of such an investment is AstraZeneca’s $100 million facility in Shanghai, which is focused on R&D for cancer therapies. Similarly in 2008, GlaxoSmithKline invested $116 million in an Asia-based R&D facility in Jurong, Singapore.
The increasing number of clinical research organizations (CROs) in China and India is another driver of cellular biology sales to emerging economies. Within the last five years, the number of CROs in China has grown rapidly, increasing service offerings and consequently driving outsourcing.
Chinese companies are taking advantage of the outsourcing opportunities, expanding from basic chemistry offerings to include lead optimization, enzyme/cell assays, and ADME/Tox studies. This extensive menu of services, combined with low-costs and innovation, is positioning China as an R&D services competitor to the U.S.
Cellular biology is a segment of the life science tools industry that should not be overlooked. Driven by government funding, a changing pharmaceutical R&D philosophy, and increasing R&D presence in emerging economies, cellular biology and its encompassing technologies have shown impressive resilience in the midst of a frightening economic environment.