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ClinStar expands in US with East Coast office

By Natalie Morrison , 21-Jul-2011

Emerging market CRO ClinStar has lengthened its US reach with a new regional East Coast office.

The facility is the clinical studies specialist’s second North American center after its head office, which is based on the West Coast in San Fransisco.

Through the move, the contract research organization (CRO) – which focuses its trials and patient recruitment primarily in Russia, the Ukraine and the Baltics – hopes its new office will show its commitment to Western clients.

ClinStar executive director of business development and marketing Erin King told Outsourcing-Pharma: “To begin with the East Coast office will be used primarily as a development office. Here in the US we’ve been growing our business development processes, and now we have a West and an East Coast office it’s a more bicoastal operation.

“Although ClinStar do most of our clinical operations in Belarus, the Baltics, and Russia, we don’t forget that we are Western owned and run. The new office helps us to show a commitment to our customers, who are mainly based in the US or Europe.”

Growth potential

Although the office is currently a small operation with only five staff members, the firm is seeing it as their first step in the journey towards US expansion.

King added: “We get the best of both worlds. We get quality from Eastern based sectors where the best patient recruitment opportunities lie.

“And it’s the best business practice is to be in the West with our clients. That’s why we’re growing and investing there from a business stand point.

“Our current CEO, David Passov, has background in both areas, and has been spending his time between clients in the US and clients in Russia and the Ukraine. It’s nice to have more people based here permanently for a more dedicated customer support to US clients.”

But the company’s strategies for growth in the future do not factor in definite plans for acquisitions.

That is not to say that conquering new companies will never be on the cards for ClinStar.

“There are no acquisitions in the works at this point, but I would say that we value propositions from companies in Russia and Eastern Europe emerging markets recruitment value,” said King.

“From a strategic stand point, we’re currently evolving when it makes sense, and when we need to look at contracts in other regions we will.

“At the moment we do it through CROs who can still get the value from other countries. But relationships with these companies are constantly being evaluated.”

New relationships

Though for many companies establishing roots in new regions is a means of developing new relationships with local companies, ClinStar insists the move had no such motives.

“There is no one East Coast business we’re specifically looking at building a new relationship with at this point. Because of the niche offering we provide, the companies who have worked with us in the last 11 years already include most of the big global CROs.”

But in a nod to future associations with the growing Eastern European market, King did give Outsourcing-Pharma a tip-off about what is around the corner.

She added: “We have, however, been working with another Eastern European CRO that provides new support in other Eastern European countries, but I’m afraid we can’t name them at the present time.

“We wanted a relationship worth a new CRO which could help us to work in Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. The Eastern European market is primarily untouched for us, we work mainly within Russia and the Ukraine because we’ve found we can get higher patient recruitment numbers there than if you go outside to places like Poland.

“That’s why it’s been easier for us from a strategic stand point to establish alliances with other CROs there, and keep our own offices in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine.”

ClinStar also has “an established partnership with an Indian CRO when the need arises”, said King.

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