Eisai Logo A trial for a new drug to combat Alzheimer’s disease has begun in Singapore public hospitals. This trial is part of plans to increase tests in the Asia-Pacific region and Middle East.

Japanese pharmaceutical giant Eisai has set up a centre in the city-state to coordinate 50 million US dollars in clinical research annually.

Eisai plans to run half of its trials in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East, up from 10 per cent currently.

Dr. Raymond Chua said that trials for new drugs to fight cancer and Parkinson’s, a degenerative neurological condition, will start in the city-state soon.

A third study will focus on killing breast cancer cells by using a drug derived from a sea sponge, he said.

Around 20 patients from public hospitals are involved in each trial in Singapore. Larger trials are planned for other countries in the region as well.

“We project that half of the 20,000 patients across the globe involved in a drug trial for heart disease will be from the Asia- Pacific and possibly the Middle East,” Chua said.