Veeda has been making a push into cancer trials of late, and the purchase of ION, made by the firm's Veeda Oncology unit, follows hard on the heels of its purchase of French CRO Biologie et Industrie in May. The pace of growth at Veeda Oncology is all the more remarkable given that it was first mooted at the company last July and only set up officially in April 2008. That said the company has stated openly that it intends to grow the business via a series of "targeted acquisitions". Under the terms of the agreement Veeda Oncology has bought ION Clinical Research for an undisclosed sum, gaining access to 50 clinical trial locations across the US. The two companies have also signed a five-year exclusive agreement in which Veeda Oncology will provide clinical research support to the ION site network. ION Clinical Research's focus is on community-based clinical research programmes, a measure which it claims provides greater access to clinical trials for cancer patients in high-quality research environments, close to home. The activities of each centre are governed via a central institutional review board (IRB). This community approach complements Veeda's strategy which to date has been to gain access to large oncology patient populations by forging relationships with oncology hospitals in India, as well as in Eastern Europe. Adding a raft of US trial sites is a big move towards being able to operate a global service, and that element of scale is a critical component for CROs hoping to win contracts from major pharmaceutical companies. Veeda Oncology's CEO Matt Bowman, said the access to the 50 US sites "significantly complements our strategy of rapid access to oncology patients for global clinical trials." He added that all of the personnel of ION Clinical Research would be offered employment at Veeda. ION Clinical Research was formerly part of the Amerisource Bergen group, numbers most of the top-tier pharmaceutical companies among its clients. It is currently operating more than a dozen clinical trials for clients, and presented results on cancer drugs developed by Eli Lilly, Genentech, Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb at the last couple of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meetings.