Asia to take over the US in Medical research?


A recent journal publication, ‘The Anatomy of Medical Research-US and International Companies’ quantifies the total public and private investment in medical research. The authors used data from 1994 to 2012 and compiled trends in US and international research funding. From 2004 to 2012, the rate of investment in medical research in the US declined, while there has been an increase in research investment globally, particularly in Asia.

According to the study, US industry reduced early-stage research, favoring medical devices, bioengineered drugs, and late-stage clinical trials, particularly for cancer and rare diseases. National Institutes of Health allocations correlate imperfectly with disease burden, with cancer and HIV/AIDS receiving disproportionate support. US government research funding declined from 57 % (2004) to 50 % (2012) of the global total, as did that of US companies (50 % to 41 %), with the total US (public plus private) share of global research funding declining from 57 % to 44 %. However, Asia, particularly China, tripled their investment from 2004 to 2012 in medical research. The authors say, “The analysis underscores the need for the United States to find new sources to support medical research, if the clinical value of its past science investment and opportunities to improve care are to be fully realized. Substantial new private resources are feasible, though public funding can play a greater role. Both will require non-traditional approaches if they are to be politically and economically realistic. Given global trends, the United States will relinquish its historical innovation lead in the next decade unless such measures are undertaken.”

The original publications can be accessed at:

 Disclaimer: This article does not reflect any personal views of the authors/editors.

Previous articleTransparent worms help understand nerve fusion
Next articleScientists come up with a solution for baldness using stem cells
Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (; -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo ( and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.