Leading US clinical research professional education and training body Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) has tied up with the Pune-based Bilcare Research Academy to open its first chapter in India where the business is growing rapidly. The alliance will offer educational and training courses for students as well as working professionals in clinical pharmacology (studies related to clinical analysis of pharmaceutical products) and drug development research.
The move is significant as India faces a severe shortage of trained professionals in these areas and education and training in these disciplines are still at a nascent stage. At the same time, the demand for such professionals has increased manifold as the country is now a preferred destination for clinical trials for the globaldrug industry.
According to Thomas Adams, president and CEO of ACRP, India was its first priority location while considering its Asia spread. “The first phase of our partnership with Bilcare will focus on programmes in India and Singapore, followed by Thailand, Korea, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and China in phases,” he said.
Bilcare chairman Mohan Bhandari said the partnership with ACRP in India would bridge the gap of a long-awaited qualitative manpower requirement and practices across the country and partsof Asia.
According to a study by audit firm Ernst & Young, the market for clinical research activities in India is expected to touch $2 billion (Rs8,200 crore) by 2010. It is also expected that over the next two years, 30% of the global clinical trials will take place outside the US, and India will emerge as a favourable destination for these. The study predicts that if India were to take advantage of this boom, the country would require at least 50,000 clinical research professionals by 2010. The current availability of trained professionals is less than 3,000.
Bhandari said Bilcare Academy would open 30 academic centres across India and parts of Asia with an initial investment of Rs20 crore. It aims to train at least 5,000 professionals. The first centre opened in Pune last week.
According to Adams, clinical research is a multi-dimensional discipline that requires people with a wide variety of skill sets. Besides science graduates with biology or pharmacy as main subjects, the courses are also open to fresh medical degree holders as well as practising doctors. Professionals from the industry can also join the training programmes.
The ACRP-Bilcare academy will offer postgraduate diploma in clinical research with a certification from ACRP. Founded in 1976, ACRP addresses the distinct educational and networking needs of professionals involved in clinical research.