Peking University inks Medidata deal as China inches into eClinical era

Peking University Clinical Research Institute (PUCRI) is trying to drag China into the eClinical era by expanding its alliance with Medidata ($MDSO). Under the terms of the revised relationship, the partners will help local drug developers access electronic data capture (EDC) tools and other eClinical technologies.

China has lagged well behind the West in adoption of such systems. While Western companies running trials in the country have used EDC for years, the likes of Medidata and Oracle ($ORCL) have found it harder to gain traction with local organizations. Cheap labor made the economic case for EDC less compelling than in the West and the technology gained a reputation as being complicated to adopt, particularly at sites with limited technical know-how and infrastructure shortcomings.

Amid these doubts, PUCRI has worked to increase eClinical adoption in China. PUCRI hooked up with Medidata to found the PUCRI Medidata Clinical Research Technology Center in 2009, just one year after the trial-focused academic center itself was created. The center already uses Medidata Rave to service large multicenter clinical trials, but wants to go further still by making the eClinical specialist's Clinical Cloud available to more local organizations.

"We look forward to … serving as a bridge between globally leading technology and innovative drug development," PUCRI director Weigang Fang said in a statement. Medidata expects the deal to increase the number of people in China that are trained to use its platform, an ambition that could eventually lead to it starting to generate meaningful revenues in China. In 2014, the U.S., Japan, the United Kingdom and Switzerland accounted for 90% of Medidata's sales.

The PUCRI alliance is part of Medidata's attempt to start correcting the geographic imbalance. The company also bolstered its sales team in Asia late last year and struck a deal with Taiwanese drug developer TWi Biotechnology early in 2015.

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