Of the 350 million to 400 million people infected with the hepatitis B virus worldwide, one in three lives in China. The country is home to 130 million carriers of the disease and 30 million who are chronically infected.
Some rural parts of China have an especially high incidence of tuberculosis, and across Asia, prevalence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and certain gene rearrangements are much greater than in the United States and Europe. Combine these incidence rates with the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region’s sheer size — it’s home to 60 percent of the world’s population — and you would expect sponsors to be rushing to take advantage of this setting for clinical trials in these indications.
Right? Not exactly — at least not yet.
But patient access is a strong motivator for an industry eager to address these unmet needs and reduce time to market, and having access to the huge APAC population can mean enrolling a trial in months, not years. That’s motivating Western researchers to explore APAC countries more aggressively than ever — and here are some things we’ve observed.