A new alliance between the Korea National Enterprise for Clinical Trials (KoNECT) and biopharmaceutical services company Quintiles aims to boost capacity for high-quality clinical research in what the partners describe as “one of Asia’s fastest-growing countries for biopharmaceutical development”.

Set up in December 2007 at Seoul National University College of Medicine with support from the South Korean government, academic institutions and the lifescience industries, KoNECT provides resources, training and support for clinical research in South Korea.

Under its memorandum of understanding with Quintiles, KoNECT will work with the US-based company to produce educational events for investigators and local/multi-national biopharmaceutical companies as well as relevant government officials. The collaborative efforts are expected to start this coming summer.

“With KoNECT we can further enhance the already high clinical research standards that exist here and expand its clinical research capacity,” said MiSook Hyun, head of Quintiles’ clinical operations in South Korea.

Trial centres, training

Since its foundation, KoNECT has selected five Regional Clinical Trial Centers (RCTCs) on a competitive basis in South Korea and incorporated them into the existing RCTC network, the organisation noted.

KoNECT has also provided training programmes for clinical trial specialists through its Clinical Trials Training Academy and has supported technology development programmes for clinical studies since May 2008.

Quintiles in South Korea

Quintiles Transnational Korea has been operating in Korea since 2000. Its base in the capital city of Seoul is the company’s third largest office in South East Asia.

Last March, Quintiles took a 10% stake in a new joint venture with the Samsung conglomerate for contract manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals in South Korea, with the longer-term aim of transitioning to the development and commercialisation of biosimilars.

In October 2010, the company marked its 10-year presence in South Korea by announcing a strategic alliance with the Seoul National University Hospital as part of its Prime Site programme to bolster local infrastructures for clinical trials.