Collaborative research with Asian pharmaceutical companies could ensure the future of the Western drug industry.
Following a five-year lack of profit growth, executives from big pharma companies are striking deals with Chinese and Indian drug researchers to outsource testing for drug candidates and replenish drug development pipelines.
Western drug companies have announced around US$400 million of such deals so far and Eastern researchers are benefitting through profit shares and intellectual property rights.
The partnerships could save the Western industry billions of dollars in costs — in India, five PhD chemists can be employed for the cost of one in the West.
The efficiency of Eastern laboratories is also an advantage, accelerating a development process often delayed in the West by bureaucracy.
Indian experts say the collaborations will spur new breakthroughs in medical research and develop a local industry originally built on the production of cheap generic drugs.