The move into India was facilitated for INC Research through an equal joint venture relationship that the US-based CRO has formed with Indian firm GVK Biosciences, called INC GVK BIO. "This partnership enables both companies to further expand their global reach and supports our growth plan into areas of clinical demand by our customers," said Jim Ogle, CEO of INC Research. "Our customers have repeatedly indicated a strong interest in our having a solid operational presence in India," added Kelvin Logan, president of INC Research Europe. Under the new arrangement, the firms will be running Phase I-IV clinical trials from dedicated GVK facilities in the Indian cities of Hyderabad, Chennai and Gurgaon, Delhi. Meanwhile, larger rival PPD said it has answered the call for a broader geographic presence by opening two new offices in Athens, Greece, and Seattle, US. Both offices will now serve as hubs for the PPD employees who were previously operating in these areas on a regional basis, providing development services for Phase II-IV studies. The office in Athens focuses on patient recruitment, clinical monitoring and regulatory support while the Seattle office houses clinical monitoring and project management teams. "The new offices enable us to address the organic growth of our business driven by client needs for Phase II-IV services as well as enhance support for our employees located in these areas," said Fred Eshelman, CEO of PPD. "We plan continued investment in infrastructure, systems and people to align with the global research needs of our clients." In other related news, PharmaNet is planning to lease a new 50,000 sq. ft office space in Cary, North Carolina, in order to consolidate its operations that are currently running nearby in Cary as well as in Morrrisville. The move, which will involve over 100 employees, is expected to take place after construction is completed in the second quarter of 2008.