inVentiv Health, the US-based provider of clinical development, commercialisation and consulting services, has bolstered an already solid presence in Japan through a strategic alliance with local clinical research organisation (CRO) Bell Medical Solutions.

Tokyo-based Bell Medical Solutions is the only full-service CRO in Japan, fielding over 700 clinical research associates to serve the growing national market and operating as a preferred provider to some of Japan’s leading pharmaceutical companies, inVentiv said.

With Bell’s capabilities running from Phase I-IV clinical trials to post-approval studies and patient-access programmes, the new partners will together offer “comprehensive global drug development services” to Japanese and international clients conducting studies in Japan.

While the alliance reinforces inVentiv’s “already significant” position in Japan, it will give Bell the benefit of inVentiv’s international reach and its ability to take part in larger, global studies, the latter noted.

Embedded in the system

Bell has conducted hundreds of studies in a range of therapeutic areas since it started offering CRO services in 1986, inVentiv said.

“Bell is not just a respected CRO, it is also embedded in the Japanese healthcare and drug approval system,” commented Ray Hill, president of inVentiv Health Clinical.  

“It is a crucial time for our clients operating in Japan and we can now provide all the support they need to succeed.”

Emerging-market rates

Sales growth for the top eight multinational drug companies in Japan ranged from 12% to 31% in 2011, which the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has described as “emerging market” rates, inVentiv noted.

Moreover, the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Agency (PMDA) in Japan has “slashed” review times for marketing authorisation applications over the last five years and boosted the number of new drug approvals to serve the needs of a burgeoning elderly population.