As clinical trial patient pools around the world become oversaturated, expanding activities into different countries is essential for developing new medical treatments, improving the diversity of research, and fostering global collaborations.

There are many factors when it comes to choosing a clinical trial site. The size and diversity of the local population, proven patient retention rates from previous trials, existing research infrastructure, and the condition of the country’s healthcare system all contribute to a location’s suitability.

In recent years, both Israel and Turkey have emerged as attractive locations for clinical trials, with their robust healthcare infrastructure, skilled professionals, supportive regulatory frameworks, and population advantages. Going forward, how will these two countries continue to support growth in clinical trials?

The clinical trial environment in Israel

Israel emerged as an increasingly appealing market for conducting clinical trials, attracting significant international sponsorship. In fact, between 8 December 2012 and 8 March 2023, 75% of clinical trials conducted in Israel were multinational.

Part of the appeal to international investors can be attributed to a diverse population, alongside a robust national healthcare system that can provide long-term health monitoring and medical records.

According to GlobalData’s Israel healthcare market analysis, the Israel pharmaceutical market size was $2.4bn in 2018, which is expected to grow further by 2027. The report notes that key drivers of Israel’s pharmaceutical industry are a strong network of academic and research institutes, R&D facilities, and developed medical facilities.

A major benefit that Israel offers for clinical trials is the ease of recruiting and retaining patients. “The recruitment and retention of patients are very important because you know you can get a trial to stay on track and remain within the timeframes of the recruitment period, while the outcomes are also great,” says Zayheda Khan, chief commercial officer at Oximio.

Additionally, as Israel’s population has roots in other countries spanning the world, this offers a unique opportunity for enrolling clinical trial patients across a diverse patient pool that few other international locations can match. 

“In a small environment, with a population of just over nine and a half million, we have a community that has genes from all over the world,” explains Dror Sukenik, managing director for Israel at Oximio. “The Israeli population is nationally health insured, we don’t see people moving to another country, like in Europe, so our patient database is tracked and monitored easily.”

The Israel Ministry of Health (IMOH) oversees the regulation and approval of clinical trials in the country and has implemented streamlined processes to ensure efficient review and approval timelines. Clinical trials are actively supported and encouraged through various initiatives and incentives, including financial support and grants. For example, the Israeli Innovation Authority collaborates with pharmaceutical and biotech companies, providing financial support and resources for conducting clinical trials in the country.

The growth of clinical trials in Turkey

The Turkish healthcare market is particularly attractive for multinational firms seeking to invest in joint ventures and other types of mutually beneficial collaborations. This is driven by factors such as strong government support, manufacturing, and R&D incentives, increasing per capita income, and an expanding middle-class population.

According to GlobalData’s Turkey healthcare market analysis, the pharmaceutical market size in Turkey was valued at $7.5bn in 2020. The market is expected to grow further at a CAGR of less than 1% from 2021-27.

Turkey’s strategic location between Europe, Asia, and the Middle East offers advantages in terms of patient recruitment for multinational trials. Additionally, Turkey’s population is characterised by its relative youth and working-age population, making it particularly well-suited for clinical studies as populations age around the world, while also serving to benefit the industry from a business perspective.

The regulatory oversight of clinical trials in Turkey is managed by the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TMMDA), which has implemented internationally recognised guidelines and harmonised its processes with European Union directives, ensuring compliance with good clinical practice (GCP) standards. The TMMDA has implemented measures to streamline the approval process, reducing timelines and facilitating efficient communication between researchers and regulators. These streamlined procedures enhance the speed and efficiency of initiating and conducting clinical trials in Turkey.

Furthermore, the Turkish Government offers financial support, grants, and tax incentives to attract both domestic and international sponsors. These incentives not only reduce the financial burden on sponsors but also stimulate collaborations between academia, industry, and healthcare institutions, contributing to a vibrant research ecosystem.

“We have a favourable investment environment, robust growth in the sector, and opportunities in sub-sectors as well. Turkey has a strong international presence,” explains Gunes Yildirim, managing director for Turkey at Oximio Yildirim. “We have favourable demographics, with a dynamic, young, and secure talent pool supporting the industry. And we also have a rising life expectancy and increasing spending on healthcare.”

Strong partnerships in clinical trials

Both Israel and Turkey actively seek international collaborations in the field of clinical trials, which not only contributes to scientific knowledge but also promotes economic growth and fosters partnerships between local and international stakeholders. Many pharmaceutical companies, contract research organisations (CROs), and academic institutions are increasingly recognising the potential of Israel and Turkey as favourable destinations for their research activities.

To meet these needs, Oximio is a trusted partner offering a patient-centric range of end-to-end logistics services for clinical trials to streamline research processes and optimise trial timelines. The company has state-of-the-art depots in both Israel and Turkey and has extensive experience in dealing with all national and international regulations to ensure that shipments get where they are needed on time.

If your company is interested in Turkey or Israel as clinical trial locations, Oximio’s global team of experienced professionals from the pharmaceutical industry and logistics can provide support at each stage of their trial.

To learn more about the clinical trial environments in Israel and Turkey, along with the services offered by Oximio, download the whitepaper below.