Historically, there have been more drug clinical trials in the West than in Asia. However, recently this has changed, and there are more than 8,000 clinical trials in Asia now and less than 8,000 clinical trials in the West. Please note that some of these Asian studies also include Western sites, whereas Western studies do not include Asian sites. Also, while in the past, most clinical trials in Asia were Phase 3 or Phase 4, now about one-third of Asia’s clinical trials are Phase 1. The explosion of Phase 1 trials in Asia reflects the growth of R&D in the region, especially in China, Korea, Japan, and Australia. Now, more new chemical and biological entities are being initiated in Asia than ever before.
Looking at the breakdown in Asia, over 55% of the clinical trials are now being done in China, about 25% in Japan, and about 12% in Korea and Australia. While trials in China have grown, they have been reduced in Japan. Also in China, about 70% of the trials are for domestically made drugs whereas in the other Asian markets, only about 30% of the trials are for domestically made drugs. Big pharma continues to focus on Japan, but many middle to small-size drug and biotech companies favor China and the other Asian markets.