Four large CROs—two in Japan and two based in the U.S.—are leading a $213 billion Japanese CRO market that has grown in the past decade as the country’s pharmaceutical companies, which traditionally have performed its clinical trials services in-house, have followed the path of U.S. sponsors in choosing full-service CROs as preferred vendors.
In an overview of the Japanese CRO market, a report from Research and Markets says monitoring services accounts for 54% of the market, followed by statistical analysis and data management at 23% of the total.
About 50 CROs comprise the Japanese market, led by EPS Corp., CMIC, Quintiles and Parexel, which the report says are “dominating the market, and the rest of the firms have faced stagnation or a decreasing number of projects.”
Quintiles has operated in the Japan market for more than 20 years and in 2010 relocated one of its central labs to Tokyo, said Paul Spreen, senior vice president and global head of Quintiles’ customer solutions management group.
“We had and continue to have consistent growth in Japan and have found our relationships with pharmaceutical companies are based on strong partnerships and trust,” said Spreen.
The study said in recent years, large-scale drug development has become more difficult, making it more of an operational risk for Japanese sponsors to keep so many staff members in clinical development.
It said while Japanese CROs handle local projects, the global CROs take advantage of their capabilities and global reach to win international studies.
Spreen said Japanese pharma companies that developed products for their own market are increasingly looking beyond their borders to expand into new markets. “Those companies see a demand for products traditionally developed in Japan, now wanting access to other markets,” he said.
Large CROs based outside Japan are strengthening their regional capabilities in Japan, investing in facilities and resources in functional services such as central laboratories, imaging and clinical supplies to take in-country projects from Japanese CROs, the report states.
“Demand for outsourcing clinical development work has remained strong,” the report concluded. “Therefore, the Japanese CRO market will likely continue to grow. More concentration into the top four companies is also expected in the near future.”
As for the environment surrounding small and mid-sized Japanese CROs, the report said they will have a more difficult time adjusting to a changing market.