MERIT Executive Spotlight is a series featuring executive team members introducing themselves and explaining why they chose to work in the clinical trials industry and at MERIT.
Percy leads MERIT’s business development team in China, building relationships with strategic partners and advancing our sales, marketing, and business development efforts. He sat down for an interview to discuss his team’s role at MERIT and his passion for clinical research.
Can you describe the current market for Independent Reading Centers in China?
Everything clinical trial-related is influenced by the regulations issued by the Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE) of the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA). 15 years ago, China didn’t have the same innovation in drug development capabilities as now. Most of the trials back then were Bioequivalence studies and did not focus on the endpoint itself. In the last 5 years, we have seen further technological development and innovation. There is now an increased number of China biotechs that spearhead the whole lifecycle from drug discovery to clinical trial, to market.
Given this trend, the CDE has enacted stricter regulations and guidelines accordingly. Therefore, Independent Reading Centers (IRCs) are more frequently utilized to evaluate if the trial has met its endpoint. I believe the market will continue to focus on data quality, especially study endpoints, so the need for IRC services will increase.
What do you think differentiates MERIT’s IRC services in China?
My experience includes APAC business that overlaps with the US and EU markets, and from my perspective, China is unique globally. The China market focuses on service and team localization when working with CRO/IRC vendors from other countries. In particular, data must follow HGRAC regulations that require it to be stored in China. MERIT has expert China readers as well as local competitive pricing. Our dedicated team goes above and beyond to meet challenging study timelines. As an example, we recently met an expedited deadline for a China-based trial that only took 2 weeks from study award to the first patient image data upload into our cloud-based reading platform, EXCELSIORTM.
How does the China business development team collaborate with other teams at MERIT?
I don’t actually think of the China BD team as separate from the China team as a whole. We all share the same goal of expanding MERIT market share and providing top-level service to our clients. We work very closely with our operation and medical team members to engage with prospective clients even before the study starts, so our partners can be confident in our capabilities and experience.
The BD team is also involved in the project operation level to ensure service delivery meets client expectations. Working cohesively as one team allows us to understand every team member’s capacity and work status, to better support each other so that we can ensure that we meet every aspect of our client’s requirements.
What brought you to the field of clinical trials?
I began my career working at a large global CRO and have nearly 10 years of experience in research-related BD. While coincidence played a role in my joining the industry, I found the work fascinating from the beginning. This isn’t just a job to me–I’m passionate about helping accelerate innovation and bringing valuable new drugs to the market. I find this career meaningful and am proud of my contributions to helping patients conquer diseases with better treatment options and lower costs. I plan on dedicating my career to clinical research.
What activities, hobbies, etc. outside of work do you enjoy?
I love everything outdoors! Hiking in the spring and fall, watersports in the summer, and skiing in the winter. I love exercising and I go to the gym a lot when I’m not in outdoor sports. BD work often requires intensive back-to-back meetings and travel, and staying energetic and healthy keeps me well-prepared to meet the demands of the career I love.