Overview of Clinical Research Industry in Singapore
During a period when pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations worldwide are concerned with decreasing R&D productivity, Singapore’s incorporated research ecosystem allows organizations to access integrative features in a single location, which enhances R&D decision-making and speeds up drug discovery and development. More than 60 of the world’s top pharmaceutical research or marketing organizations such as Pfizer, Novartis, GSK etc. are using Singapore as a key home base to push innovation, increasing the country’s biopharmaceutical sector by more than 40 per cent in 2015.
Singapore is become a hub for biopharmaceutical producers and healthcare providers. It offers one of the better healthcare infrastructure and networks in the Asian region. Singapore is the third biggest market in Asia for executing clinical trials. The national government has been highly encouraging in developing clinical research activities and keeping high immunization rates.
The Singapore government recently spent around USD1.2 billion into vaccine, biomarker and translational research. In addition, the strict intellectual-property laws and GCP guidelines is an important source of protection and assurance to the clients in the pharmaceuticals sector. Thus, the nation is noticed to have an excellent potential to capture drug and device development market not simply due to its strategic location, but also owing to its developed regulatory framework for the pharmaceutical and biotech markets.
It has been approximated that in the period 2010-2013, more than 220 Clinical Trial Certificates were granted each year. The main impetus of the clinical trial industry in Singapore is for Phase 1 to Phase 3 stage of clinical trials.
What is Clinical Research?
Clinical research is the scientific study conducted to know the safety and efficacy of investigational drugs, devices, and diagnostic products. Clinical phase of drug development is broadly classified into IV stages. Initial III phases are conducted before marketing of the drug and based on the outcomes of these Phases; regulatory authorities approve or reject the drug. Phase IV studies are conducted after marketing of the drug to monitor safety and adverse effects of the drug in large population.
Education and Skills Required to be a Part of Clinical Research Industry
A degree in life sciences is a primary requirement. Medicine, Pharmacy, Biochemistry, Genetics, Molecular biology, Physiology or nursing degrees are the common life science degrees that lead a way to be qualified for clinical research. Pursuing a Diploma or PG diploma in Clinical Research makes an applicant more employable.
Clinical Research industry needs professionals who are capable to multi-task apart from the primary skills like good communication. It is beneficial to be well versed with language and culture of your place of work. As the processes in clinical research are stringently monitored for regulatory and ethical compliance, professionals need to be cognizant of the ethical and legal guidelines for clinical trials.
Organizations engaged in clinical research look for people who are good team players and are able to work independently. Due to the increase in number of clinical research outsourcing organizations, it is essential for team members to work with colleagues throughout the globe.
Educational institutions in Singapore are prepared for this growing industry and provide courses at the different level to provide students with all the essential abilities. Post graduate diploma courses in Clinical Research and advanced clinical research are offered by few institutes such as the James Lind Institute.
Job Opportunities in Clinical Research Industry
Several jobs are offered in this profession that range from an associate to a manager. Common roles in the area of clinical research consist of physician investigators, medical monitors, clinical research associates (CRAs), clinical research coordinators (CRCs), Medical writers, drug safety associates, clinical data managers and statisticians. The role of CRA needs people with an enthusiasm for research. Going up the ladder, people applying for the position of Clinical Data Manager must have detailed analytical skills. Quality assurance positions are also offered which involve validation of the processes adopted in clinical research.
According to the recent survey, the clinical research sector is predicted to hire 40,000 professionals in the coming five years. With an approximated global market of S$ 18 billion , Singapore organizations are predicted to carry out more than 10 per cent of global trials this year and this number is predicted to speed up over the years.
Singapore government also provides tax concessions to organisation which are engaged in clinical research and development. Most medical centers have sophisticated medical technology. This makes it much easier for global clinical research companies to perform studies in Singapore.
So, if you have a keen desire in life sciences, and would like to make contributions to the society by being a part of clinical research industry and support in developing superior medicines for diseases, gear your profile and develop your skills in the field of clinical research.