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Clinical Insider
EPNextS Group

Frontage and EPS team to take on Japan’s “drug lag”

Posted by on 02 April 2024
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Japan’s EPNextS Group and US-based Frontage Labs have teamed up to take on the “drug lag” that developers targeting the Japanese market sometimes encounter.

The partnership – financial details of which were not disclosed – will combine the former’s trial solutions and experience of the Japanese market with the latter’s early phase and clinical services offering according to the firms.

EPS and Frontage will carry out collaborative business development activities in Japan and the US to expand market reach and conduct early phase clinical trials in Japanese and non-Japanese populations in the US.

In a press statement EPS president, Tatsuma Nagaoka, said “We are excited to join forces with Frontage to address the critical issues of drug lag and drug loss in Japan."

“Our collaboration with Frontage underscores our commitment to advancing clinical research and improving patient access to innovative therapies. By combining our strengths, we aim to streamline the drug development process and bring novel treatments to market more efficiently.”

Frontage CEO Abdul Mutlib welcomed the opportunity to “address the pressing challenges facing the Japanese pharmaceutical industry.

“Together, we will leverage our collective expertise to accelerate the development and commercialization of new therapies, ultimately benefiting patients in Japan and beyond.”

Lag and loss

Typically, winning approval for drugs in Europe and the US takes less time winning approval in Japan. The difference – known as “drug lag” – arises because of Japan’s strict regulatory requirements, specifically that products are trialed locally.

According to recent analysis approvals in Japan took an average of 1547 days longer than in the US between 2017 and 2022.

Additionally, according to Frontage strict regulatory requirements and complex clinical trial procedures contribute to “drug loss,” where promising therapies fail to reach the market due to inefficiencies in the development process.

The firms also announced that another wholly owned subsidiary of EPS, EP-SOGO may explore opportunities to develop overseas training programs with Frontage.


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