The Indian contract research organisation (CRO) is planning to plant itself in the chosen Asian locations by either making an acquisition or forming a joint venture in order to "minimise start-up time," and is already involved in talks with "interested parties" in the two countries. In doing so, the company aims to increase its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, an area that is heating up in terms of clinical research services and is attracting many CROs and pharma firms to set up new operations. Synchron recently made a similar move in its own country this time last year when it acquired local start-up CRO Innovance - a first-of-its-kind buyout for India's clinical research scene. Through the acquisition, the Ahmedabad-based firm increased its clinical capacity by adding three Phase I units to its already existing three clinical sites, boosting its bed capacity from 90 to 200. The purchase was driven by the company's ambition to match the higher demand for clinical trials in the country, originating from both US and European companies, Monika Verma, director of business development, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com at the time. Half of the company's revenue comes from European clients, 30 per cent from the US and the remaining is generated in India. Synchron's acquisition move came on the heels of its first foray into the Asian space, where it increased its bioanalytical, bioequivalence, clinical research and data management services capacity by building a new 32,000 sq. ft facility in Bangkok, Thailand. In doing so, the firm established the first CRO in the country, and the experience has obviously whetted the company's appetite to expand into nearby countries. Meanwhile, Synchron, through its subsidiary Synexel Research International, has also just gained new a business in France, with the $6.7m purchase of a bioanalytical and biomarker laboratory in Poitiers, belonging to large CRO Parexel International. Staff of the laboratory will join Synchron's bioanalytical business unit. The acquired laboratory is good laboratory practice (GLP) Class A certified by Afssaps, France, and develops highly sensitive bioassay methods for use in all phases of drug development, from preclinical to Phase IV, for the determination of new chemical entities as well as marketed compounds. The biomarker facility provides singleplexed and multiplexed immunoassays for early clinical, preclinical and clinical studies. At the same time, Parexel also expanded its minority interest ownership in the clinical pharmacology business of Synchron in Ahmedabad, from 19.5 per cent to 31.0 per cent, at a cost of $5m. "Over the past several years, Parexel has developed a strong global clinical pharmacology capability, through both organic growth and acquisitions", said Josef von Rickenbach, chairman and CEO of Parexel. In 2004, Parexel entered into an exclusive partnership with Synchron, which was expanded in 2006 when the CRO acquired a majority stake of Synchron's clinical trials business operations in Bangalore, and a minority equity interest in Synchron's Ahmedabad clinical pharmacology business, which it has now just increased. In 2007, Parexel then opened an office in Hyderabad, India to offer clients clinical research and data management services from this location, in addition to its many other locations across the globe.