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Johan PE Karlberg, MD, PhD
Clinical Trials Centre
The University of Hong Kong
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Abstract - Development of sponsored clinical trials in Asia - Issue 5, May 2008

Testing of new medical treatments has become global since the International Conference on Harmonization introduced Good Clinical Practice guidelines in 1996. This study analysed the US-based trials register to identify sponsored clinical trial trends in Asia The analysis data set comprised 5,167 industry-sponsored trials and 126,980 study sites registered between October 2005 and September 2007 Beyond North America and Europe, Asia is involved in more sponsored trials 18.1% of all protocols globally than any other emerging region. Contributing 5.9% of all study sites, Asia is also second only to East Europe (8.9%) of emerging regions. India, Korea and Taiwan stand out as the most active locations for multi-national industry sponsored trials in Asia. However, Japan and China are not in the mainstream of this development, since most of their trials are for local registration purposes. Small locations such as Singapore and Hong Kong, formerly prominent, have been overtaken by previously less active countries such as the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. When ranking is for cities and based on the number of study sites of multi-national industry sponsored trials, disregarding sites of local trials, Seoul is the most active Asian city, followed by Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Delhi. In conclusion, the ongoing globalisation process of sponsored clinical trials that started 12 years ago has provided an opportunity for several Asian countries/locations to attract international companies to the region, and also seemingly encourage development of local life-science industries.