Six Asian CROs have founded the Asia CRO Alliance (ACA) to combine regional expertise and provide integrated services across Asia. According to the ACA web site, it is the first and only alliance of niche, regional CROs in Asia to partner to enhance clinical research inAsia.
The six member CROs are Shanghai SLG in China, SRD International in Japan, Semler Research Center in India, LSK Global Pharma Services in Korea, Veras Research in Malaysia and StatPlus inTaiwan.
According to Dr. Young Jack Lee, president of LSK Global, who serves as chairman of ACA, most local Asian CROs, and ACA members in particular, are better prepared to work with sponsors than affiliates of multinational CROs.
Most Asian regional trials and Asian parts of global clinical trials are either conducted by sponsors directly or by affiliates of multinational CROs with headquarters in Western countries. ACA members have been participating in local, regional and global studies, he said, while affiliates’ study experience is limited to global studies. With diverse sponsor and study types, ACA’s CROs are more knowledgeable about local situations and familiar with local idiosyncrasies than affiliates, said Dr. Lee, adding that local CROs are managed by senior executives with authority and autonomy.
According to Dr. Lee, all ACA members have worked with major pharmaceutical companies and understand the importance of quality. The ACA has taken measures for quality control and assurance by harmonizing SOPs and training programs. ACA members are all independent but work as a single entity for regional studies. A crucial advantage of working with the ACA, he said, is price. All ACA members are self-sustaining local CROs, and therefore it costs very little to maintain the ACA. This saving in overhead is passed on to sponsors.