Ethnic Bridging: The Who, the When, the Why

Aug 22, 2023 | Blog, CenExel, CenExel ACT, CenExel CNS, News


In the dynamic realm of clinical drug development, a new star is rising: Ethnic Bridging clinical trials, also known as ethnobridging or Asian bridging clinical trials. Over the past several years, the industry has witnessed a surge in the adoption of these trials, revolutionizing the way we approach global drug development.

Understanding Ethnic Bridging:

The term “ethnobridging” was coined by PAREXEL, and it refers to a crucial facet of clinical research – ethnic sensitivity studies tailored to support global drug development, with a particular focus on the Asian population.

Accelerating Drug Development Timelines:

Ethnic Bridging studies have a compelling mission – to expedite drug development timelines by assessing key factors such as efficacy, safety, dosage, and dosing regimen. These studies generate limited clinical data in Asian populations, paving the way for a more streamlined drug development process. Notably, in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in countries like Japan, Ethnic Bridging studies are poised to minimize the “drug lag” – the significant delay that has traditionally plagued clinical development in comparison to Western nations.

Seizing Early Advantages:

One of the most transformative aspects of Ethnic Bridging is its early introduction, starting as early as Phase I. This early integration allows the detection of ethnic variations, particularly in pharmacokinetics related to drug metabolism, distribution, absorption, elimination, safety, tolerability, and pharmacodynamic profiles. By acquiring this information sooner, pharmaceutical sponsors can better plan for subsequent phases, sidestepping the often slower and costlier process of waiting until Phase II or III.

Unlocking Strategic Insights:

Bridging studies require a strategic approach, including a comprehensive clinical data package for efficacy and safety. These studies can be deemed necessary based on fundamental ethnic factors, but their significance is undeniable. The bridging study concept is pivotal in overcoming the challenges posed by diverse ethnicities.

A Gateway to Efficiency:

Ethnic Bridging studies, as a concept, have opened doors to a more efficient global drug development landscape in the Asia-Pacific region. With projections indicating substantial clinical trial growth in countries like China and Korea, these studies play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between global trials and specific ethnic populations.

Towards a Unified Approach:

The collaborative efforts of Asian countries, such as Japan, China, and Korea, to expedite drug development through bridging studies underscore the potential for unity in clinical research. These studies offer the prospect of accelerated drug availability and broader access for populations that have traditionally experienced delays in accessing new medications.

The world of Ethnic Bridging studies represents a transformative shift in drug development, promoting efficiency, unity, and strategic planning. As the landscape evolves, so does the recognition of the importance of ethnic differences in clinical research. Embracing Ethnic Bridging not only shortens timelines but also paves the way for more inclusive, effective, and safer drug development processes.

To explore how CenExel can support your Ethnic Bridging clinical trials, leveraging our vast databases for swift participant recruitment and our well-connected network for streamlined resource and capacity planning, please visit




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