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An Irish-based contract research organisation has forayed further into what is seen as a lucrative market with the opening of three new offices in Eastern Europe.
Icon’s new facilities are in Prague (Czech Republic), Kiev (Ukraine) and Bucharest (Romania).
Alan Morgan, Icon’s president for Europe, said the facilities were located near leading teaching hospitals and national clinical research sites and provided access to investigators and patient groups.
Icon staff had already been working on several clinical studies in these countries.
“The increased need for clinical trial management in these countries has created a need for more permanent Icon presence,” Mr Morgan said.
Staff would provide project management, clinical monitoring and regulatory submissions services.
Mr Morgan said: “The Central and Eastern European regions are emerging locales for clinical trials and offer great opportunities and facilities for drug development.
“The expansion of Icon’s capabilities is supported by the availability of large homogenous patient populations (mainly treatment-naive), competitive approval timelines and an important network of highly qualified investigators.”
Icon is one of several contract research organisations which are putting roots further into this region of the world, chasing the promise that it holds.
Dan McDonald of consultancy D. Anderson & Co described Central and Eastern Europe as a “hidden clinical trial gem”.
The eight-country area offers 20% savings in study costs and 400 million treatment-naive patients, most of whom are part of a centralised health system.
“There have been over 1,500 new study registrations here in the past year,” Mr McDonald said.
Adding Russia and the Ukraine to the mix makes the region even more potentially lucrative, with 200 million treatment-naive patients – more than in all 12 Western European countries combined – and a recruitment rate 2-10 times faster as well as a cash saving of up to 50% compared to Western Europe, the consultant said.