Icon signs up to boost Taiwan's stake in drug development

CRO Icon ($ICON) has signed a deal with the National Taiwan University Hospital, lending its weight in clinical research to help make local trials faster and more reliable.

The university operates Taiwan's National Clinical Trials and Research Center, a site for clinical studies in Asia. Under the deal, Icon will assist the center in study start-up, site feasibility, investigator selection and patient recruitment, improving NCTRC's capabilities and raising the standards of clinical research in Taiwan, Icon said.

"Our customers are increasingly looking to include Taiwan in their clinical programs and are expecting fast timelines for study start-up and patient recruitment," Icon Vice President Wei Ming Goh said in a statement. "By combining the proven expertise of Icon and NCTRC in the region, we can further accelerate study timelines, which will benefit our customers and also enhance the Taiwanese clinical trials industry."

For National Taiwan University Hospital, the Icon deal follows a 2012 collaboration with Parexel ($PRXL), a similar arrangement allowing the CRO to host trials at the facility in exchange for the use of its clinical development know-how. Both partnerships reflect the same goals, NCTRC Director Chan Wing Kai said: raising Taiwan's profile as a site for clinical research and accelerating the development of life-saving therapies.

Taiwan has long been on the rise, and the country's liberalized healthcare system and strong market for R&D put it in fourth place among Asian outsourcing destinations, behind China, India and South Korea, according to a 2012 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey.

- here's the release

Special Report: Taiwan - Top Emerging CRO Markets

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