The firm, which is based in Plymouth, UK and Ahmedabad, India, announced last week that its medium-term plans were to have a global presence to offer its clients services in all major pharma markets - Europe, Asia and now the US. Veeda was officially launched in 2005 as the result of the merge of two companies - the UK-based Phase I Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) and Indian CRO Clinsearch - and has since grown at a steady pace through several acquisitions. The company plays on its ability to offer early clinical services from Phase I to Phase II trials both in the UK, where it offers specialised studies including first-in-man, bioavailability and proof of concept, and in India where it can provide a vast population for patient recruitment, and cost- and time-saving. Just two weeks ago, the firm completed the take-over of a Phase I clinical research unit in Gorlitz, Germany, to strengthen its early clinical development in Europe. The recently acquired unit is a 40-bed facility equipped to conduct pharmacokinetic studies and its integration with the company's existing UK-based Plymouth unit is underway. It also adds to the company's facility in Belgium, gained through the acquisition earlier this year of DICE, a CRO based in Brussels and specialised in data management, biostatistics, statistical analysis and medical writing for clinical trials. Veeda's European operations managing director Binoy Gardi said last week that further expansion was already underway through the building of a large-molecule analytical laboratory in the Oxford Science Park, UK. However, the company refused to give further details on the forthcoming acquisition in the US. Veeda CR has a capacity of 217 beds, 41 monitored beds, 260 staff and has conducted over 350 studies so far for pharma companies. Meanwhile, new data from a report released last month by Research and Markets in collaboration with KnowGenix, a Mumbai-based research firm, suggest that the Indian CRO market, currently worth $75m (€55m), is expected to grow at 24 per cent per year, reaching $175m by 2010. India has become one of the preferred destinations for outsourcing research services due to its low cost manufacturing, lower cost of R&D staff, and lower operational costs while providing quality infrastructure of international standards, the report said. "The rapidly evolving skill-set of Indian vendors in basic research and development have narrowed the skill-gap required for new chemical entity (NCE) research. This trend is one of the key attractors for western companies to outsource value added research services from India," said Dr Raj Rajagopal, COO of KnowGenix. Veeda is ready to take advantage of this booming market as it recently signed partnerships with two Asian companies. Last month, Veeda signed a deal with Novamed, a Shanghai-based CRO which offers clinical development services in China, India and South Africa. In addition, Veeda signed last November an alliance with India firm Advinus, through which it gains a strong presence in the preclinical arena. The alliance will preclinical and early clinical development services, animal and human safety pharmacology, preclinical toxicology as well as microdosing capabilities.