In the last few months several US contract research organisations (CROs) including Covance and PPD have expanded their operations in the region, while others like Sweden’s Trial Form Support International (TFS) have recently set up local units for the first time.
Prior to Synteract's announcment the Czech Republic was already emerging as a trials hub. International players like Icon, PRA International and Quintiles already have established offices in the country as do several homegrown CROs, the biggest of which is KCR (formerly Kiecana Clinical Research).
While demand for new trial populations, the relative ease of recruitment and cost advantages are undeniable motivations for setting up in the CEE, the growth of local pharmaceutical markets also makes developing medicines in the region an attractive proposition for many pharma firms and hence an opportunity for the CROs they work with.
Dwindling US trial pool
Synteract's new Czech office, which will be opened in August, will provide sponsors with the a full range of regulatory, management, pharmacovigilence, statistics, data storage and medical writing services for Phase I to IV trials.
A Synteract spokesperson told Outsourcing-pharma that: “With the pool of clinical trial patients dwindling in the US… an international office has become a critical offering for multiple phase programs.”
She added however that: “The primary reason for the [Czech office] is that Synteract is growing and wanted to expand its capabilities to provide service for multiple phase trials in more countries using its own staff.”
In a press statement, CEO Ellen Morgan set the move in the context of wider expansion efforts that have already seen Synteract hold a number of training seminars for US pharma and biotechnology sponsors.
Morgan explained that: “We decided that this year is the right time to move forward to provide the one-stop shop and broader services they need.”
Kristi Clark, managing director of the Czech unit, stressed that firm aims to “maintain the same level of service in our Central Eastern European office that we now offer in our US based offices.”
Clark went on to say that: “Having key Synteract employees transferred from the U.S. to the Prague office confirms our commitment to quality and will help our clients have more confidence that their international trials will meet the standards they expect.”
First step for global expansion
Synteract described its Czech office as the first major step in expanding its global footprint, adding that it is also looking at possible acquisitions elsewhere in Europe and in Asia.