Averion International, the US-based contract research organisation (CRO) specialising in oncology, cardiovascular disease and medical devices, recorded a net operating loss of US$857,000 for the third quarter ended 30 September, despite net revenues more than doubling to US$15.9 million from US$7.8 million in the third quarter of 2007. Averion recorded net operating income of US$468,000 in last year’s quarter.

The increased losses were principally due to non-cash depreciation and amortisation charges of US$1.01 million in the latest quarter, compared with US$338,000 in the year-ago period, Averion said. The main reason for the higher charges – and, indeed, for the marked increase in third-quarter revenues – was the acquisition of Hesperion, a Swiss-based CRO that has substantially raised Averion’s European profile, at the end of October 2007.

According to Averion, net service revenues from its operations in Europe grew “significantly” during the third quarter and first nine months of the year on the back of the Hesperion deal. Executive chairman Dr Philip Lavin said the company was “very encouraged by the continued progress that has been made over the past year in the integration of Hesperion and Averion”, a combination that had “enhanced our operations, strategic capabilities and core expertise while maintaining our core values”.

The US CRO has recently further strengthened its European offering by opening offices in Ukraine and the Czech Republic. Chief executive officer Dr Markus Weissbach noted that Averion continued to “evaluate other opportunities to increase the scope of our existing geographic and therapeutic capabilities in emerging regions of the world”.

Commenting on the first nine months of the year, he said Averion continued “to realise positive trends in our net service revenues despite the difficulties facing many of our clients who are currently seeking additional sources of funds”.

The CRO had a backlog of US$68 million at 30 September 2008, up by 72.2% year on year.