Factors Needed for Success
While a range of different dynamics that could ultimately change the drug development paradigm in the region and beyond are in play, to truly elevate Asia to a global innovation partner requires several key factors to become aligned. Among these, three threads stand out:
- Government, academic, and industry investment in innovation must be a high priority
- Biopharma companies big and small need to embrace a range of new development models including virtualization
- Regulatory changes need to be sped up, and increased cooperation between various agencies in the region must occur.
During the past few years these trends, which are already in motion, have accelerated. Investment dollars from academic centers and private firms are flowing to the region, attracted by an influx of new talent in the industry. Governments in the region are also continuing to invest significantly on the research side.
The Korean government, for example, is an active participant in the Korean National Enterprise for Clinical Trials (KoNECT), a public/private effort to advance the country’s infrastructure for conducting clinical trials. In Taiwan the proposed “Diamond Action Plan for Biotechnology Takeoff” will infuse NT$5 billion (around $155 million) into Taiwan’s biotechnology industry through the National Development Fund, venture capital sources, and other private investors. In addition to funding, the plan also includes resources for advancing preclinical drug development capabilities and establishing a network of biotech incubation centers.
For their part, biopharma companies big and small are investing or redirecting significant investment dollars from already existing R&D centers in the U.S. or Europe to new, emerging centers in Asia. This movement represents a potentially significant opportunity to jump-start innovation.