Australian CRO Novotech firms up its Hong Kong presence

Australia's Novotech has made a permanent home in Hong Kong, ditching its old office in favor of a larger space as it works to capitalize on the growing demand for clinical services in the region.

With its new operation, Novotech is focusing on Phase I trials in Hong Kong, partnering with local universities to host early-stage studies on in-development drugs. The city provides a gateway into the booming Asian market, Novotech said, giving the company access to local experts and multinational drug developers all at once.

Novotech's John Moller

"Hong Kong is a significant market in high demand from U.S.- and Europe-based pharma and biotech sponsors," John Moller, Novotech's chief operating officer for Asia, said in a statement. "In addition, the city is officially recognized by the China Food and Drug Administration for conducting clinical trials for drug registration purposes in Mainland China in certain therapeutic areas."

The move comes a few months after Novotech opened an outpost in Shanghai, its 9th Asian office. Last year, the CRO partnered up with the Korea Drug Development Fund to lend its R&D expertise to the South Korean government as it works to establish a market for biopharma in the country.

Novotech bills itself as Australia's largest contract drug developer, and the company's latest expansion follows years of spreading throughout Asia, fueled by the CRO's sale of a 30% stake to private equity firm Mercury Capital. Novotech's service platform now covers 12 countries, including New Zealand, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Hong Kong.

- read the statement (PDF)

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