The world's largest patient recruitment firm, Synexus Clinical Research has bagged its first Hungarian company in a bid to exploit the growing clinical trial opportunities in the emerging Eastern European market.
Diagnostic Units Hungary (DUH), bought for an initial consideration of €1.5m plus a deferred consideration of €1.25m, is a site management organisation (SMO) based in Budapest, providing clinical trial services, particularly the recruitment and management of patients onto later stage trials.
Late-stage clinical trials are a specialty of Synexus and The Institute of Clinical Research recently presented the founder and director of Synexus, Dr Ian Smith, with the Outstanding Achievement Award, reflecting the company's work in reducing recruitment times and costs in this area.
The UK company, which now has more than 15 centres in five countries, is actively looking to strengthen its multi-country operations through a series of selective acquisitions that centre around its core activity of patient recruitment for late stage trials, with particular focus on the exploitation of growing opportunities for clinical trials and patient recruitment in emerging economies, especially Eastern Europe.
Over the last decade the number of multi-centre clinical trials in the Central and Eastern Europe region has been growing on average at an annual rate of 30 per cent and this growth is expected to continue.
Analysts Frost & Sullivan predict year-on-year growth for the European contract research market of 10.4 per cent up to 2007, when it will be worth an estimated $4.3bn (€3.5bn), primarily driven by the increasing attractiveness of Eastern Europe to drug developers in both the US and Western Europe.
"DUH is a high quality clinic and the major recruiter of patients in Hungary and is in a very exciting position both geographically and strategically," said Michael Fort, chief executive of Synexus, said Fort.
"We will continue to look for similar types of acquisition opportunities over the coming months, with the active encouragement of our clients."
The acquisition is the company's second since joining AIM in November 2005 - in January Synexus bought Polish clinical trials company Skandynawskie Centrum Medyczne (SCM) in a deal that also brought contracts with a number of new customers in the region as well as licences to open further centres in Poland and in neighbouring Ukraine.
The company has also since made its presence known in Bulgaria, opening an office in Sofia.
"The prospects from these centres alone are excellent as they enable the company to offer a pan-European solution to our clients who have significant hubs and head offices in mainland Europe," said Fort.
"Additionally, the centres have varying specialities in their domestic markets allowing us to widen the therapeutic areas offered to our clients."
However, Eastern Europe isn't the company's only focus - late last year Synexus also entered the world's other burgeoning clinical research market, India, setting up the country's first patient-recruitment SMO with IRL, a subsidiary of the Indian Clinical Research Institute.