'The industry needs to maintain its focus on developing human resource'
-Yutaka DeSilva, Director, Global Sales, Quintiles-APAC
Everyone has an eye on Asia in terms of both market and R&D potential. As the market becomes increasingly competitive, being able to provide consistent delivery and innovative solutions will be the key to global success. In an interview with BioSpectrum, Yutaka DeSilva, director, global sales, Quintiles-Asia Pacific talks about the key challenges for the CROs in the Asia Pacific region. Some excerpts:
What are challenges that CROs like Quintiles are facing in the Asia Pacific region?
When looking at the overall clinical development landscape in Asia, there are essentially two key challenges that the industry, including Quintiles, will face in the coming years. First is a remarkable high growth on a relatively small base and second is the execution and delivery in an increasingly competitive market.
The CRO industry globally is growing at a healthy 10-15 percent. In Asia, the industry is looking at three-four times of that. Considering 30-40 percent year-on-year growth on a relatively small pool of professionals and infrastructure, there is a high demand for staff and talent across the board. The entire industry needs to maintain its focus on developing human resources and offering rewarding, long term careers. Quintiles has invested a great deal in setting up the systems to identify, develop, and retain talented professionals and these strategies are meticulously planned, communicated, executed, and measured.
Of course, the end goal of these efforts is ultimate consistent delivery with the highest quality. In pharmaceutical development, gaps in patient safety, regulatory compliance or data quality is not an option and global consistency is key to the success of any development program. For that, there needs to be execution of process. Upfront planning, critical assessment of risk factors, and adherence to global standards for every project are paramount for consistent delivery. Everyone has an eye on Asia in terms of both market and R&D potential. As the market becomes increasingly competitive, being able to provide consistent delivery and innovative solutions will be the key to global success.
How do you see competition in the CROs space in Asia Pacific?
Looking at cost and development pressures on pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, I believe the CRO market both globally and especially in Asia will remain bullish for some time to come. We're also seeing growth coming from all directions including the expansion of traditional global development, alternative partnership models, the maturation of Asia-based biotech and pharmaceutical companies with compounds in the clinic, and innovative development strategies like the inclusion of Asian patient data into marketing applications in Japan. In this environment, companies with a global footprint will advance in the market as they can promise access to patients around the world. Many of the international players are gaining momentum in Asia including PPD, Covance, Icon and Omnicare. Parexel is also looking to take a significant strategic position in Asia. We are, however, at least twice as large in terms of number of staff and geographic footprint and plan to continue leveraging this, and our local expertise in the region to maintain our market share.
Which country in Asia Pacific, according to you, is the preferred CRO destination and why?
Asia is a truly diverse region with many opportunities. Each country has its own unique clinical development environment and the key is to understand the intricacies of each market such that optimal solutions are developed to meet the unique objectives of each client.