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Chinese AROs need to develop for benefit of local sponsors, say researchers

Posted by on 19 March 2024
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Academic research organizations (AROs) in China are not as developed as US counterparts according to researchers, who suggest the sector needs to advance to help local drug makers achieve their international ambitions.

Like CROs, AROs provide drug developers with services – everything from academic leadership to full-service clinical trial management. The difference is that AROs are affiliated with universities and are generally run as “not- for-profit” organizations.

In the US, AROs have positioned themselves for industry collaboration, broadening their clinical research opportunities beyond federally-funded programs.

The situation in China is very different according to the authors of a new study.

“The ARO landscape in China is behind that of the US due to fundamental gaps in industry needs, institutional motivations, collaborative conditions, and mechanisms.

“As the Chinese pharma industry has just completed its transformation from 'me-too' to true innovation, both local companies and multinationals working in China have followed global practices and placed higher value on trial operation efficiency rather than exploratory trial methods or complex, innovative trial design,” they write.

And – according to the authors - the lack of maturity in the China’s ARO space is at odds with the growing international focus of drug developers in the country.

“As Chinese pharmaceutical companies shift their R&D focus toward innovative drugs and the global market, a significant demand for the development of AROs and ARO–CRO hybrid service modes are emerging. AROs in China are still in their initial stage of development.”

“It is time to establish multidisciplinary dedicated teams based in high-level research hospitals and to stimulate their motivation to provide ARO services,” they write.

China has become the largest pharmaceutical market second to the US. Chinese participation in multiregional clinical trials escalated from around 10% in 2011 to 40.6% in 2021, reflecting an average annual growth rate of 15%.


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