Editor's Corner

I've been relaying a string of reports recently on China's growing presence in the drug development world. Today's story (below) involves Bridge Pharmaceuticals, a company that's been gaining considerable attention as it markets itself as a lower-cost outsourcing partner for new studies. Bridge has been touting itself as a great place to do animal studies, not only because it claims the company can do it cheaper, but also because executives don't have to worry about animal rights groups coming after them the way protesters have in Europe and the U.S. Anyone even remotely involved in legitimate drug research work can attest to the fact that animal studies are an essential step in proving the safety of a therapy before it is tested on human volunteers. The sight of a company touting its immunity to such protests--in a country that limits protests with a heavy hand--is a sad statement on the juncture that R&D has reached. Will Bridge's approach work? You bet it will. Even the smallest biotech companies have an international strategy on developing new therapies and gaining partners along the way. If there's an advantage to doing work in China, it's just a matter of time before the work migrates there. - John Carroll