The firm said that it set up the offices in Warsaw, Poland, Prague, Czech Republic and Bucharest, Romania, "as a further step in the initiative to expand" its global clinical development (GCD) services. From the new offices SGS will conduct clinical trial management services including clinical trial monitoring, study feasibility, and site selection, as well as offering support for the regulatory aspects in these countries. The clinical the teams stationed in these regions will cover a wide range of therapeutic areas, with a special emphasis in the company's areas of core expertise - central nervous system (CNS), infectious disease and cardiovascular disease. The offices will be supported in the areas of project management, data management and statistics, regulatory and medical affairs from SGS' main office for GCD in Belgium. "The opening of the new offices addresses the request of many of our sponsors to conduct trials in Central and Eastern Europe in order to benefit from the vast pool of treatment naïve patients, faster enrolment times, and the cost benefits these countries offer", said Luc Braeken, vive president of Global Clinical Development. "Highly qualified and motivated investigators, low drop out rates of enrolled patients and the high quality of the clinical data are additional advantages of conducting trials in Central and Eastern Europe." In entering the region, the firm joins the growing ranks of pharma firms and contract research organisations (CROs) that are setting up shop in CEE, where countries such as Turkey, Bulgaria, Russia, Romania and the Ukraine are proving particularly attractive as new locations in which to conduct clinical trials. According to Polish market analysis firm PMR, the latter three countries are showing the most popularity, all of whom have large development potential due to their vast populations (140m in Russia, 46m in Ukraine and 22m in Romania). Only last month, Chiltern opened a new office in St Petersburg, Russia, a move that Armand Czaplinski, Chiltern´s general manager of CEE described as "a logical next step" in the company´s continued growth in the CEE region. Meanwhile, in February a Polish and a Czech firm merged together in a bid to strengthen their position in the CEE's budding clinical research scene. KCR (formerly called Kiecana Clinical Research), a CRO based in Warsaw, bought DUX Consuling, the largest Czech company handling this type of research in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The merger of the two companies was aimed at building a strong group within the CEE area, said KCR: "This undertaking will make KCR a major company specialising in clinical research on the CRO market in CEE".