S. Korean clinical trials for new drugs inch up in

SEOUL-- Clinical trials carried out by South Korean pharmaceutical companies inched up in the first half of this year, while overall biomedical research and test numbers declined globally, data showed Tuesday.

According to the findings by the Korea National Enterprise for Clinical Trials (KoNECT), experiments and tests carried out locally made up 2.19 percent of the global total for the January-June period, compared with 2.08 percent a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the number of global clinical tests decreased 22.5 percent on-year during the same period, mainly due to more than a 40 percent drop in the tests by U.S. pharmaceutical firms.

"The global clinical trial industry is becoming more difficult to forecast due to changes in new drug developments and paradigm changes," said Ji Dong-yun, a KoNECT official, noting that local companies are keeping their competitiveness despite the changes.

Industry officials attributed the increase to robust research and development (R&D) spending by local players in recent years.

Four major South Korean pharmaceutical companies -- Hanmi Pharmaceutical Co., Green Cross Corp., Daewoong Pharma and Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corp. -- spent more than 100 billion won (US$86.9 million) each on R&D for the first time in 2016, data showed.

The latest move marks a significant change from 2014, when Hanmi Pharmaceutical was the only player that allocated more than 100 billion won to R&D.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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