Coronavirus outbreak begins to disrupt booming China drug trials - (Fidelity via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The COVID-19 outbreak may be starting to disrupt experimental drug trials in China, potentially posing a threat to plans by global pharmaceutical companies that have invested billions in clinical testing in the country, as reported in Fidelity.

  • The US clinical trials database lists nearly 500 studies with a site in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak that has been put on virtual lockdown by the Chinese government, while roughly 20% of global trials are now conducted in China, up from about 10% just five years ago, according to GlobalData.

  • Affected ongoing studies include trials testing a Novartis medicine for a rare blood disorder, a cancer drug from BeiGene and a treatment for a type of spinal arthritis from Chinese drugmaker Tasly Pharmaceutical.

  • BeiGene, which has more than 20 trials ongoing in Wuhan, said it was working to minimize potential delays and disruptions, but that it was "too early to speculate on any specific impact on our clinical trial and commercial progress in China."

  • Other drugmakers with trials in China, including Roche, Zai Lab and Hutchison China MediTech (Chi-Med) also suggested that it was too soon to speculate.

  • The news source said much will depend on how long the COVID-19 outbreak lasts, particularly for trials set to begin later this year and ongoing studies that will take years to complete. However, Chi-Med CEO Christian Hogg is optimistic about a resolution, saying "this a relatively new phenomenon…and China is a resourceful country."

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