The Asian medical market is booming. McKinsey predicts that Asia will become the second highest medical technology market in the world by 2020, and it could account for a third of global sales by 2025. The opportunity is great, and with good reason. Until the last decade, many Asian countries were largely underserved by pharmaceutical companies and medtech providers.
Carl Firth, CEO of Singapore-based ASLAN Pharmaceuticals, worked at AstraZeneca for 10 years before founding his biotech company. He said that until recently, it was very difficult to pitch drug development concepts for diseases that made relatively little impact in the West.
“Back 10 or 12 years ago in Big Pharma, I remember if you were proposing a drug for a disease where there were 10,000 patients in the U.S., the commercial team would just laugh at you and it would be very difficult to get that investment required, which is unfortunate,” Firth said.
However, he said “there has been a sea change” in the pharmaceutical industry and that major pharmaceutical companies are now more interested in developing treatments for Asia-prevalent diseases.