A growing number of biotechnology companies are looking at Asia and Australia to run their clinical trials in Oncology, Immuno-Oncology and Hemato-Oncology. About 40% of active clinical trials in Immuno-Oncology involved at least one location in the Asia-Pacific region at the end of 2019.

Since the first Immuno-Oncology (IO) drug, ofatumumab, was approved in 2010, the clinical development of immunotherapies has accelerated dramatically.

Checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells therapies have become the cornerstone of cancer treatment across a broad variety of hematological and solid tumor indications. Immuno-Oncology drugs stimulate the immune system to eradicate malignant cells. This unique mechanism requires specific considerations when designing clinical trials and selection sites for the study. 

Cancers with high somatic mutations such as Melanoma, Lung Cancer, Bladder cancer, Stomach or Esophagus cancer are known to be more sensitive to Immunotherapies. These cancers are highly prevalent in the Asia-Pacific region. When looking for CRO services in Oncology and Immuno-Oncology, sponsors need to partner with CRO partner and central laboratories with the ability to adapt the specific requirements of IO drug trials. Central laboratories must support sponsors biomarker development from both a strategic standpoint but also from an operational aspect. Central laboratories in the Asia-Pacific have this ability.

Most countries of Asia lack systematic reimbursement of IO standard of care which means clinical trials are often the only channel through which patients can get access to these treatments. This ultimately stimulates patient recruitment rates in clinical trials and encourages patient’s adherence to treatments. 

Over 600 sites across Asia-Pacific have been involved in the clinical development of now approved IO drugs, and hundreds of others have developed a strong experience and expertise in managing clinical trials with Immunotherapies for both monotherapy and combination therapies. Many sites across Asia-Pacific have developed a strong experience and know-how in managing clinical trials with Immunotherapies. Countries such as China, Australia and South Korea are the main locations for these trials.

Novotech has provided biotechnology companies with CRO services in Oncology and Immuno-Oncology for over a hundred trials.