Prague-based contract research organisation (CRO) Unimed has relaunched as EastHORN, offering Phase I to IV clinical services throughout Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

The new identity follows last year’s acquisition of Unimed, founded by Dr Ales Horacek in the Czech capital six years ago, by two veterans of clinical research and pharmaceutical R&D. The final integration of Unimed operational units located in the majority of the CEE markets cleared the way for an official launch under the EastHORN name.

The industry veterans are EastHORN’s chief executive officer, Dr Malgorzata Szerszeniewska, and its board chairman, Dr Alan Wood, who co-founded the CRO with Dr Horacek (now chief operating officer).

Szerszeniewska is the former president of AbCRO, the American-owned and -managed CRO that operated across Central and Eastern Europe before being acquired by the US-based PPD in February 2009. Prior to joining AbCRO, Szerszeniewska was with Covance for 11 years, latterly as director of strategic development and clinical operations for the CEE region.

Wood started his clinical development career with Sandoz and subsequently held management positions at Covance (as vice-president and general manager for Europe and Asia Pacific) and Quintiles (as vice-president of global accounts).

EastHORN’s declared mission is to “bring novel therapies to patients in Central and Eastern Europe through high quality clinical trials”. Unimed had a successful track record of conducting trials in a broad range of therapeutic areas including cardiology, oncology, gastroenterology, central nervous system disorders, respiratory disease, metabolic disorders, rheumatology, urology, paediatrics and infectious diseases, it notes.

“This is an exciting time for research in the region, as more countries join the European Union,” Szerszeniewska commented. Although there are many challenges to conducting clinical trials in the region, “EastHORN has the local expertise and staff to maximise its full potential”, she added.