30 Seconds On The Business Of Clinical Research

Gulf Business speaks to Alaa Assem, CEO of ClinArt.



What exactly is clinical research and what is its role in the healthcare sector?

Clinical research determines the safety and effectiveness of medications, devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens intended for human use. These may be used for prevention, treatment, diagnosis or for relieving symptoms of a disease.

Clinical trials show researchers what does and doesn’t work in people. They also help researchers and doctors decide if the side effects of a new treatment are acceptable when weighed against the benefits offered by the new treatment.

What is the value of the clinical research market globally and in the region?

Clinical research operations account for around 20 per cent of the global pharmaceutical and biotech R&D budgets, and as such the market is expected to grow at a rate of nine per cent per year, reaching $28 billion by the end of 2012 and around $35 billion by 2014.

Even though the market in the MENA region has seen an increase of 106 per cent from 2008 to 2010, the share of global studies conducted in the region represents only one percent of all global studies and is estimated at $250 million.

What are the main challenges clinical research faces here?

As with most science and technology businesses in the region, infrastructure, talent and investment on the part of governments have been a challenge. Ten years ago, the healthcare infrastructure in the Middle East did not allow companies to conduct clinical trials, despite the need to understand the region’s patient population and unique prevalence of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and rare genetic diseases.

Clinical trials are now well established throughout the region and the sector is growing.

What is the future of the industry in the region?
The clinical research is expected to continue to grow across the region and attract more of the global research and development projects – as the business is moving toward outsourcing to emerging markets as US and Europe are saturated.