Pharmaceutical outsourcing of research services continues to grow and data is showing that Asia is seeing the biggest benefits [1]. The big pharmaceutical companies have been trending towards a focus on specific areas of research – and divesting from perceived extraneous divisions, such as Pfizer’s sale of its animal health division. This means that pharma needs to rely on outsourcing services that their company may not provide, or look to outsourcing if they believe the costs will be lower. 

pharmaceutical outsourcing in Asia

Another key component that watchers may be missing is the growth of Asia’s own need for manufacturing and research services, prompting greater demand domestically for vendors. As seen in our Biorhythm infographic, China is poised to become a leader in life science innovation and outsourcing. In 2010, China was already 2nd highest among biotech-growing countries with projects in clinical phase and planning to spend $308 billion over the next five years; that is a lot of domestic support.

Many Asian, particularly Chinese, Indian and Korean companies, are developing commercial-scale biopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, initially to serve domestic and regional needs.

While much ongoing Asian expansion involves biogeneric versions (copies) of innovator products, a few companies are developing their own fully innovative biopharmaceuticals. Eventually, commercial biopharmaceutical manufacture will start to be outsourced to Asian companies. But in the near term, we can expect increased use of developing country-based CROs and CMOs, primarily to support pre-commercial R&D. [1]

The industry will continue to grow throughout Asia and likely other developing countries (such as Brazil), so it’ll be come even more important for North American and European vendors to distinguish themselves through quality not only domestically, but abroad. Fortunately, there are many new tools and methods for vendors to stand out from the crowd.

[1] Biopharmaceutical Industry Outsourcing Trends: China and India Continuing Full-court press – Pharmaceutical Outsourcing