HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong's clinical trial market thrives on Chinese links

There have been 26 ongoing or completed trials since July 2016.

Hong Kong has steadily emerged as a leading destination for clinical trials in Asia as pharmaceutical companies and contract research organisations from around the world flock to the SAR in a testament to its brand of quality.

Alongside developed markets like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, Hong Kong’s top-of-the line medical infrastructure and talent, high population density and regulatory environment make it attractive for pharmaceutical research and introduction of new medical treatments, noted Fitch Solutions.

Also read: Hong Kong's healthcare system beats Singapore as world's most efficient: Bloomberg

One of the SAR’s strongest field advantages lies in the certification of its two main clinical trial centers, the Clinical Research Management Office at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK CRMO) and the Clinical Trials Center at the University of Hong Kong (HKU-CTC), who both have Chinese Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) accreditation. This makes it possible for data from clinical trials to be tested in the vast Mainland market.

Also read: Hong Kong clinics brace for heated Chinese infant vaccine demand

In fact, the university centres have witnessed a multi fold increase in Phase I clinical trials for cancer, hepatitis, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases commissioned by foreign and Chinese companies. Since July 2016, there have been a total of 26 ongoing or completed trials compared with fewer than 10 in the last three years, noted Fitch Solutions.

Notable examples include multinationals like Roche which conducts around 28 to 30 clinical trials in Hong Kong every year and AstraZeneca that has around five ongoing global clinical trials and five ongoing research programmes in the SAR.

In addition to the similar disease landscape of Western countries that features nutrition transition and sedentary lifestyles, positive growth fundamentals will underpin patented drug sales in Hong Kong.

“The country's ageing population bolsters the opportunities for drugmakers as an aged population correlates to a higher demand for chronic disease medicines,” the research firm added. “This provides assurance to patented drugmakers that they will be able to maximise the commercial opportunities for their new products.”

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