The new offices, in Sao Paulo and Mexico City, will provide support for Covance’s Phase I to III clinical trial business in both countries and across the region as a whole.
Wayne Langlois, head Covance’s local clinical development services unit, said the: “new offices increase our access to patients who are currently not receiving medical therapies and will enable us to shorten clinical trial cycle times.”
And, while such claims are usually made whenever CROs open new offices anywhere, on this occasion Langlois contention is supported by market analysis.
Last month, Business Insight’s published its “Emerging Clinical Trial Locations” report, which suggested that studies in Latin America are on average 50 per cent cheaper per patient than those conducted in the US.
The report also revealed that the number of trials being carried out in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil has increased dramatically over the last eight years, which lends further support to Langlois’ view.
CRO growth in Latin America
While Covance has operated in Latin America for over a decade, opening its first office in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires in 1997, the last 12 months have seen it accelerate its growth in the region.
Earlier this year the contract research organisation (CRO) set up new clinical units in Chile and Peru also citing the improved access to patients as the primary motivation for the expansion.
And, from a wider industry perspective, Covance’s move fits with the current drive to improve access to patients that has seen most of the major CRO players expand their operations in Latin America over the last 12 months.
In April, Chiltern set up in Brazil through the acquisition of Vigiun shortly followed by AAIPharma, which bought the Instituto de Pesquisa Clinica in Sao Paulo, and PRA which opened a unit in June.
Prior to that, Swiss CRO PFC Pharma Focus entered the Latin American market through a partnership with Argentinean company Blanchard y Asociados.
Clearly the benefits of the Latin American market prove hard for a CRO to resist and are likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future as the demand for trial participants continues to grow.