A team from Veranex Data Management & Analytics recently traveled to Hyderabad, the capital of the Indian state of Telengana, for BioAsia 2023. Providing a venue for biotech, pharma, MedTech and HealthTech companies to meet, the conference is now in its 20th year and boasts attendance from more than 50 countries as well as 175 exhibiting organizations.
Telangana as a global life sciences and healthcare hub
It’s fitting that the conference is in Telangana, given its significant investment in establishing itself as a global healthcare and life sciences hub, which was highlighted in the conference welcome presented by Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, the Minister for IT, Industries & Commerce for the Government of Telangana. There are 19 life sciences and medtech incubators as well as 800 life science companies in Hyderabad alone, helping attract more than US $1.49 billion in life science investments in Telangana over the past four years. Telangana contributes nearly 30% of India’s pharmaceutical production and one-third of the vaccines produced globally.
With an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.4%, the Indian pharmaceutical sector is not one to overlook when looking for partners or research locations. According to Dr. Vas Narasimhan, CEO, Novartis, during his keynote address, it’s for these reasons that Novartis recently expanded its footprint in India, one it’s grown since 1947 to develop, manufacture, and commercialize drugs, creating more than 168,000 local jobs.
Novartis is currently one of 27 multinational pharmaceutical companies currently operating in India, reaching a revenue contribution of ~US $4.6 billion and growing at 6% in the last five years. In February 2020, Novartis established its fourth digital innovation hub in Hyderabad, its first hub in Asia. More than 100 data and digital projects have been supported by the Novartis India team already, and they are interested in partnerships and cross-industry collaborations to accelerate care for patients in India and globally.
The discussion around this and similar initiatives in India aligned well with the conference theme of Advancing for ONE: Shaping the next generation of humanized healthcare:
- One Health: Integrating cross-sectoral ecosystems to safeguard the future
- Next Generation Health: Harnessing disruptive technologies such as data, analytics, extended reality, AI and blockchain to deliver personalized healthcare
- Equity: Driving accessibility and affordability to quality healthcare for all
Growth in clinical trials in India
Not surprisingly, there has been a parallel growth in the number of clinical trials being conducted in India.
Figure: Number of trials conducted in India according to clinicaltrials.gov
With a population of more than 1.4 billion people and high prevalences of noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease as well as high-priority infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, significant opportunity exists for pharma and biotech companies to reach additional patient populations. In fact, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and stroke were the top three causes of death in 2019, with diabetes and cirrhosis falling within the top 10. The population impact of these diseases on death and disability increased by at least 20% and up to 60% for diabetes over a 10-year period. Regarding infectious diseases, diarrheal diseases, lower respiratory tract infections, and tuberculosis were ranked 4, 6, and 7 in the causes of death, respectively.
At BioAsia, we attended a session in which executives from Roche described their planned pipeline of 20+ new product launches and indication extensions in India across the next three to five years spanning therapeutic areas such as oncology, hematology, ophthalmology, and neuroscience. Roche has also been the largest recruiter for hemophilia clinical trials in India and the second largest recruiter for a global head and neck cancer clinical trial. In addition, AstraZeneca has about 39 ongoing clinical trials in India and works with ~240 sites.
It was evident to our team that India is proving to be of critical importance to clinical research. Valued at US $1.93 billion in 2021, the clinical trials market in India is expected to expand at a CAGR of 8.2% from 2022 to 2030. This is being helped by the introduction of revised drug and clinical trial processes introduced by the Indian Department of Pharmaceuticals in 2019, which have helped reduce approval timelines and move more products through approval.
The need for innovation highlighted in the conference agenda
The global approach to driving innovation and healthcare access was reflected in the conference agenda. Panel discussions ranged from clinical research in the metaverse to decentralized trials (DCTs) fueled by wearables. It quickly became apparent to our team that there are great opportunities for biopharma companies to conduct clinical trials and commercialize their products within India as well as potential partnerships with many of the India-based pharma companies to conduct clinical trials in the United States and submit for FDA approval of their products.
We found ourselves in some very interesting capabilities discussions at our booths and feel as if we are uniquely positioned given our knowledge and experience in the clinical trial landscapes in the United States, Europe, and India. Contact our team today to discuss how we can partner to globalize your clinical trials.