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NEWARK, Del.—Contract research organization (CRO) QPS has had a busy year, having opened a trio of new sites as it seeks to capitalize on market demand and keep up with customer growth.
QPS Netherlands recently opened its second clinic, located on the grounds of the Medical Center Leeuwarden. Initially, the site will focus on studies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, but it will eventually handle studies in a number of indications. The clinic began its first patient study Sept. 15, 2019.
“From 2017 onwards, discussion between QPS and medical staff and management of MCL resulted in the mutual agreement of the establishment of a dedicated clinical pharmacology patient unit on the premises of MCL in close vicinity of the policlinic stations of the medical specialists,” said Dr. Izaak den Daas, director of patient studies at QPS Netherlands.
The argument for the focus on the Netherlands is twofold. One reason is that in the wake of “Brexit”—the United Kingdom’s impending departure from the European Union—the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be moving its headquarters from London to the Netherlands. With the Netherlands poised to become a hub for medical development, having an established presence in the area could have significant benefits—especially with the United Kingdom seeing a drop in clinical trial activity. According to a Fitch Solutions report, the number of clinical trials has dropped more than 25 percent since the Brexit vote in 2016.
In addition, QPS also has internal numbers to back up the value of an increased presence in the Netherlands. The company saw a 170-percent increase in revenue growth from the number of in-vitro studies it was contracted to conduct in 2018, with 50 percent of its in-vitro customers moving on to also retain QPS for in-vivo studies.
Moving to another continent, QPS has also expanded in India, with QPS India having recently opened the doors to a new early-phase clinical facility in Hyderabad, India. The facility boasts a 138-bed capacity spread over four units, and is ready for Phase 1 healthy volunteers and Phase 2/3 patient populations. QPS India has a long history in the area, having been established in 2004, and has cleared more than 22 regulatory inspections from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, EMA, World Health Organization and Drug Controller General of India. In addition, QPS India is a proud partner to several prominent generic pharmaceutical companies and has contributed to first-to-file and 505(b)(2) projects.
“QPS India is well known for quality, compliance and commitment with a good regulatory track,” commented Daniel Rapaka, deputy general manager of business development at QPS India. “It’s a one-stop solution for all generic bioavailability and bioequivalence studies and clinical trials.”
The CRO market in India is expected to see steady growth over the coming years. According to a Market Research Future report, the Indian CRO market is expected to grow from $500 million in 2017 to $986.9 million by 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of roughly 12 percent. India is seeing increased popularity for this market due to a number of factors, including the country's acceptance of international guidelines and intellectual property rights, the number of hospitals in the area, and a large, diverse ethnic pool of participants for clinical trials.
And moving even farther east in QPS’ expansion from its U.S. base, QPS China has seen growth as well, having opened a new bioanalytical facility in Suzhou, China, last year. The new site increases QPS' bed capacity and expertise, offering additional support for the increased demand for liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and mass spectrometry (MS) laboratories in China. QPS Suzhou boasts 13 scientists and supporting staff and four cutting-edge LC-MS/MS systems, and offers services such as method development and validation, in addition to drug and drug metabolite analysis.
Global Market Insights Inc. reports that the global CRO market will be worth more than $56.5 billion by 2024, with the China CRO market expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 8.9 percent over the forecast period. The company lists healthcare reforms, highly qualified healthcare professionals, lower costs and a large patient pool as driving factors for the growth. A Research In China report forecasts that the China CRO market will reach RMB242.5 billion (approximately $34.3 billion) in 2025, up from RMB68.7 billion in 2018.