India's Manipal AcuNova has this week announced a planned merger with German clinical research organisation (CRO) Ecron. The new entity, named Ecron AcuNova, will be headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey - the current location of Acunova's US headquarters - and will provide Phase I-IV clinical trial services, including project management, biostatistics, clinical data management, medical writing, central laboratory and bioavailability/bioequivalence studies. The European headquarters will be at Ecron's current location in Frankfurt and there will be an Asian base in Bangalore, India. There will be a staff of 265 employees and this is expected to grow, said the firms. Ecron AcuNova said it would standardise its clinical operations using the current German practices of Ecron whilst streamlining its data management processes using the present methods employed in India by Acunova: "We foresee harmonisation of SOPs within the next six months." Dr Wiedey, president of Ecron said: "This merger will benefit our European and US clients. The possibility of extending trials from Europe to India will make drug development faster". "Trial data can be analysed with biostatisticians and data management professionals from India, speeding up submission to regulators like EMEA and FDA. We can take up bigger, complex projects with a broader range of services like central lab and PK/PD service." "Indian CROs do not have a track record in seeing a drug through development and into market. Hence this merger will combine Acunova's access to investigators and patients with Ecron's quality reputation, making drugs available faster. Clients will be able to conduct trials at west and east European hospitals and enter regulated markets", added DA Prasanna, vice chairman of Acunova. Meanwhile, two European CROs, Harrison Clinical Research and Cyncron have made a pact to collaborate together on their services offerings and broach new geographies. Headquartered in Munich, Harrison provides clinical operations along with services in Regulatory affairs, medical writing, biometrics and pharmacovigilance, with offices throughout Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Russia and Ukraine. From Munich the firm also runs a 35-bed clinical research unit for phase I and IIa clinical trials and a unit for outpatient studies. Cyncron on the other hand, is based in Copenhagen and offers clinical operations in the Nordic countries from offices in Sweden and Finland, along with the same additional accompanying services. The CRO also runs a 60-bed facility for phase I and IIa studies and ambulatory activities.