Skip to main content
APACGlobal ExpansionThought Leadership

Expansion into Asia: 3 Transferrable Lessons from Biotech

By December 6, 2019September 11th, 2022No Comments

Biotechnology companies looking to expand internationally see some of the greatest successes—and overcome some of the most profound challenges—by looking to Asia. With huge pressures to innovate and bring treatments to market quickly, these companies are great examples for any organization planning to build a multinational presence.

Why Asia Is Important to the Biotech Industry

On the one hand, Asia’s importance in the biotech industry is based solely on math. Asia makes up more than half of the global population and available talent, so the potential value of expansion there is obvious. However, this is a complex region with substantial differences in economies, regulatory environments, and even culture that have historically made expansion complicated. Traditionally, American biotech companies focused on their home markets and Europe; however, because of the following factors, this is starting to change:

How have biotech companies begun to realize the benefits of Asian markets? Here are three takeaways that can inform any company’s global expansion approach—no matter your target region.

Transferable Lessons for Global Expansion

  1. Watch for accelerating regulatory and public investment reforms.

Asia’s thirst for innovation and investment is largely self-motivated; Its populations see much higher treatment needs across a variety of conditions and demographics. When governments’ actions begin to align with your market goals, a good match might be emerging.

  1. Focus on more than just market size.

The enormous numerical advantages of Asia are clear, but expansion has to be about more than that. Biotech has succeeded in Asia because Asia disproportionately needs biotech firms and solutions, not merely because Asia is a huge population pool.

  1. Pick partnerships and specific markets, not locales.

For most biotech entrants, partnership is the most desirable strategy (as opposed to building their own presence from scratch). Whether they do this via acquisitions, joint ventures, out-licensing (when a smaller pharmaceutical company joins in a licensing agreement with a larger pharmaceutical company), or other methods, this offers substantial growth potential while avoiding the effect of “going in blind.” 

Widen Your Global Perspective

No matter your destination market, learning from others who have gone before—regardless of their industry—saves time and helps you avoid costly strategic errors. Gain confidence and global intelligence by partnering with an organization that can expand your company into new markets quickly. Contact us today to learn more about how our International PEO solution assists high-growth companies like yours with entry into new global markets.


This article was originally published in ACG’s Middle Market Growth publication on May 29, 2019.