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Quintiles set to boost Scotland's "promising" clinical trials market

By Natalie Morrison , 02-Oct-2012
Last updated on 02-Oct-2012 at 15:26 GMT

Quintiles has forged a deal with the Scottish Government which it says will boost clinical trial activity in the country.

Under the agreement, four university based research centers in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow will be given ‘Prime Site’ status. The uptick: they will get first refusal on local trials being run by Quintiles customers, as well as access to the clinical research organisation’s (CRO) services.

The firm says Scotland is attractive for clinical trials because of its single health care provider – National Health System (NHS) Scotland – its globally recognised electronic health record system, and a strong accordance between Government, academia and industry.

However, both Quintiles and health organisation National Health Service Research Scotland (NRS) believe Scotland is still under-represented in terms of clinical trials.

Speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma.com, regional head of integrated site services for Western Europe and Africa Kaye Hallett said both the company and the Government believe the Prime Site programme could help build Scotland’s activity levels in the field.

While the overall health of Scotland’s citizens is improving, it remains below that of other Western European countries,” she said.

She said the strategic partnership is designed to increase access to clinical trials for both patients and investigators.

Hallett added: “With wider access to clinical trials, and faster development of new and more effective medicines, patients in Scotland should benefit alongside those in other countries in Europe and beyond.”

In a statement, Scotland Cabinet Secretary for Health and Well-Being Alex Neil said the Government hopes the partnership will improve healthcare in the country. 

“Bringing more research trials to Scotland will reap benefits for patients, by speeding up the development of new medical therapies and enhancing the health care treatment options that are on offer for patients,” he said. “Continued investment in clinical research will undoubtedly bring great health and wealth benefits to Scotland."

Next steps

Under the deal, Quintiles will also introduce technology that uses Scotland’s electronic health records which helps identify the patients who are appropriate for inclusion in clinical research.

As Scotland is a world leader in the development of electronic health records systems we will work together to ensure that developments in informatics drive further efficiencies in research processes and will provide more real life data to improve future healthcare decision making,” Hallett told us.

Outside of Scotland, Hallett told us the partnership – the CRO’s second Prime Site deal in under a month – will not be the first of its kind.

“We are looking to grow the programme and aim to identify a maximum of 30 Prime sites globally a status that will be earned by sites based on quality in delivery and working relationships,” she said.

Going public?

The news follows recent reports that Quintiles could soon become a publically traded company.

According to Bloomberg, the firm – which went private in 2003 – is pondering a studying an initial public offering (IPO) within the next 18 months.

A spokesperson for the firm was unable to comment, and gave only the official line: Quintiles routinely evaluates its capital strategy, and it is our policy not to comment on these matters.”

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