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PRA sets up in New Zealand

By Nick Taylor , 20-Apr-2010

PRA has expanded into New Zealand, complementing its Asia-Pacific network and establishing a point of contact for pharmas interested in benefiting from the county’s high recruitment rates.

New Zealand offers high recruitment rates, an efficient regulatory environment and a skilled workforce, according to PRA, and these traits are attracting pharmas looking to conduct clinical trials.

Edward Ian, senior director of clinical operations at PRA Asia-Pacific, told Outsourcing-Pharma that clients are “highly interested in conducting trials in New Zealand”. Ian added that there has been an increase in requests for proposals and information about the country in recent years.

Major reasons for interest in New Zealand include “reputable, experienced and skilled investigators”, an efficient regulatory environment, high study subject compliance and cost-effectiveness, according to Ian.

New Zealand also offers counter seasonality. This allows companies to perform studies normally restricted to certain times of year, for instance an influenza trial, during other months because when it is winter in New Zealand it is summer in the northern hemisphere.

Ian believes the other major factor attracting pharma companies to New Zealand is high recruitment rates. These are underpinned by the availability of study subjects, especially in indications such as neurology, immunology and oncology, and a willingness to take part in trials.

Other factors boosting recruitment rates include a research friendly regulatory process and institutional review board requirements and clinical investigators with an interest in trials and high enrolling capabilities.

Setting up in New Zealand

To better serve clients interested in utilising these strengths PRA has established a legal entity and hired staff in New Zealand. PRA has worked with investigators and study institutions in New Zealand since 2001 but believes there are benefits to formalising its presence.

Ian explained that PRA will now have tightened partnerships with the local clinical research community, increased opportunities to represent sponsors seeking to include New Zealand in trial programmes and an expanded medical knowledge repository.

Furthermore, staff in New Zealand will work closely with the PRA office on Sydney, Australia. Both countries have similar healthcare and clinical research environments, creating “an ideal situation for collaboration”, and companies frequently conduct trials in both countries.

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