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Contract research sector: news in brief

Published on 02/06/09 at 02:31pm

Pharmafocus presents a round-up of developments in the contract research sector, including a merger between etrials and Merge, new contracts for ProTrials and Clinipace, alliances between ProMedica and NERI and Ockham/etrials, and a push into Latin America by PRA International.

etrials Worldwide has pulled away from its planned merger with Bio-Imaging Technologies and turned its attention instead to a rival $18 million bid from Merge Healthcare. The two companies said the merger would create a company with "comprehensive and configurable solutions that include both critical imaging technologies and proven eClinical capabilities".

Meanwhile, Ockham Development Group, which was bought by ASG in February, has signed a five-year agreement that will allow it to offer etrials' technology for the electronic capture and analysis of clinical data to its clients. The collaboration will have a particular focus on providing platforms for use in adaptive trials.

US contract research organisation ProTrials has won a contract from Medivation to carry out a phase III clinical trials on two drug candidates, MDV3100 for prostate cancer and Dimebon (dimebolin hydrochloride) for Huntington's disease. The international studies will be carried out at centres across Europe and North America.

PRA International has opened a drug safety centre in Sao Paulo, Brazil, expanding its presence in the fast-growing Latin American market for contract research services. The company, which specialises in clinical research, already has drug safety operations in the US and Germany. The unit will provide services support to clients, including assistance with US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) and annual safety reporting.

Inspire Pharmaceuticals has employed Clinipace to manage and deploy two phase II studies of its ophthalmic antibiotic AzaSite (azithromycin) in blepharitis, a diseases characterised by inflammation of the eyelids. AzaSite is already approved for treating bacterial conjunctivitis in the US. Clinipace will provide electronic data capture, clinical monitoring and various other services to Inspire.

Two US CROs - ProMedica Clinical Research Center and New England Research Institutes (NERI) - have joined forces in order to offer a full suite range of services spanning phase I to IV clinical trials. ProMedica is a specialist in early-stage (phase I) testing, while NERI has traditionally focused on later-stage research. The move follows a trend in the CRO sector towards consolidation as companies compete for fewer drug candidates and R&D dollars and try to achieve the scale needed to secure preferred vendor strategies with guaranteed annual spend.

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