Top Emerging CRO Markets

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Writing FierceCRO can be a geography lesson. As the outsourcing market continues to grow, so has the number of attractive locations for clinical trials. Smaller countries have joined the usual suspects--such as China and India--on the CRO map.

With some insight from the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) and CROs, such as Icon ($ICLR) and Covance ($CVD), we set out to identify countries that offer the right mix of features for outsourcing and clinical work. But rather than focus on markets with well-established CRO operations, we looked for promising, upwardly mobile countries.

What are those features? Population perhaps plays the greatest role, followed by infrastructure. A strong patient pool is essential, whether that means a large population or a large group of patients suffering from a particular disease, says John Lewis, ACRO's vice president of public affairs. So is a reasonably strong healthcare system.

And then there's the legal framework. Does the government have a regulatory body that spells out the rules and is capable of enforcing them? For some of the countries on our list, that's already the case. For others, however, the regulatory apparatus is a work in progress.

Cost is also key, but money isn't everything. "There are certainly cost differences across regions in terms of investigators' fees, diagnostic procedures, startup fees, importation taxes and labor costs," says Wei Ming Goh, Icon's Asia-Pacific VP. "However, the main drivers for clinical trials allocation continue to be the realistic evaluation of the feasibility of a particular study."

So sit back and buckle up for a virtual tour through 7 up-and-coming countries for outsourcing. Drop me a line via email or Twitter to let us know what you think. Did we leave some great candidates off the list? Feel free to recommend them; we're always up for a debate here at FierceCRO. – Nesa Nourmohammadi (Email | Twitter)

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