With an improving Spanish pharmaceutical market, ClinTec International has identified the country as a target market for expansion. Following a year of steady growth by ClinTec’s Spain-based team, the global CRO is capitalizing on the improving Spanish economy by opening two new offices, and creating a new regional manager position, which will oversee both Spanish and Portuguese markets.
ClinTec International is headquartered in the U.K., and advances drug development via customized research solutions. Its focus is on immuno-oncology and rare diseases. The expansion includes a move to larger Barcelona offices, the opening of a new office in Madrid and the creation of regional manager position. The new regional manager’s objective will be to deliver complex oncology programs, and therapies for certain rare and ultra-rare diseases, as well as infectious diseases.
While ClinTec was founded 20 years ago, its initial Spanish office in Barcelona did not open until 2009. The local teams perform clinical operations, project management and regulatory functions, focusing primarily on trials in the areas of oncology, cardiology and CNS.
ClinTec plans to scale up in the next year, adding 80 to 100 clinical research professionals to teams in Spain and Portugal.
“ClinTec International is adding significant depth in the main markets in the European Union, primarily driven by large-scale oncology development programs,” said Bobby Bal, executive vice president of ClinTec International, in a recent interview.
Bal went on to say that the growth has been driven by client demand for outsourced research activities, particularly in Spain.
Spain differentiates itself from much of the rest of Europe by achieving shorter than average drug approval times. In terms of ranking, Spain is one of the top 10 countries in the extended EU for approval times. Currently, the new Clinical Trial Royal Decree is shortening Spain’s timelines even more, via simpler procedures.
In addition to being competitive within Europe for the key performance indicators in clinical trial delivery, Spain also offers a talent pool of well-trained clinical research professionals, another factor that prompted ClinTec to grow within the country.
The most recent developments in the Spanish pharmaceutical market include an increased number of clinical trials and additional research sites. The overall setting is conducive of a successful clinical trial setting, with well-trained investigators and clinical research units, and the presence of international key opinion leaders.
The pharmaceutical industry is recognized as having significantly helped internationalize the Spanish economy.
In the period from 2000 to 2008, before the economic crisis, Spanish medicine export grew by +225%, tripling its value in eight years. And from 2008 to 2013, pharmaceutical exports increased by +33% to reach €10.5 million ($11.7 million) in 2013. While pharmaceutical products remain relatively small in production value, at barely 1.4% of the Spanish GDP in 2014, the sector ranks 5th in exports in the Spanish economy.
After cutbacks begun in 2010, the Spanish market began to slowly recover in 2013, increasing by 0.7%, and then gained momentum in 2014, up 2.1%, according to data from IMS Health. This increase was largely attributed to the sales of costly, newly patented drugs introduced into hospitals by multinational corporations and used to treat diseases like cancer, HIV and hepatitis C.
According to hmR España, Spain’s pharmaceutical market grew by 1.4% in 2015, thanks to the increased value of generics and consumer health products, which compensated for the decline in sales of branded products.
In March, IMS Health noted an 8.6% growth in Spain’s pharmaceutical market. Specifically, they reported that growth in subsidized drugs was greater than that of the private market. Consumer health grew by 12.9% in value and prescription medicine increased by 7.4%.
Possible roadblocks could include a shortage of talent, as may happen during any growth. To counter this, “ClinTec is focusing on the development of its staff through on-the-job learning and mentoring by experienced country managers,” said Bal. “The relationship that ClinTec International has with Edinburgh Napier University in the U.K., for the roll-out of the Master of Science (MSc) degree in International Clinical Research and Technology, demonstrates our commitment to develop the knowledge base in clinical research, and nurturing of our staff accordingly.”
Bal continued, “There is a renewed optimism in Spain and Portugal, after weathering the storm of the economic crisis. With the new clinical trial regulations in place, we can see an opportunity for global and local pharma companies to select a higher proportion of sites in Spain than was typically allocated in the past.”
This article was reprinted from Volume 20, Issue 21, of CWWeekly, a leading clinical research industry newsletter providing expanded analysis on breaking news, study leads, trial results and more. Subscribe »