Ecron Acunova, the Bangalore-based contract research organisation (CRO) formed in late 2007 through Indian company Manipal Acunova’s acquisition of European CRO Ecron, has formed a strategic alliance with Japanese counterpart Tokyo CRO that gives the partners a reciprocal presence in these markets and others such as China and the US.

The agreement comes only a few months after Ecron Acunova announced a similar alliance with US-based company Essential CRO, establishing a clinical network that spanned that market as well as India and 14 countries in Europe.

Tokyo CRO runs offices across Japan, in Tokyo (headquarters), Osaka, Kobe, Sapporo and Fukuoka. It also has subsidiaries in Korea (Seoul CRO) and China (Beijing CRO). The company’s services include strategic planning for clinical development, trial monitoring, data management and biostatistics, post-marketing surveillance, safety information management, medical writing, quality assurance and regulatory affairs.

With emerging cost pressures and an emphasis on truly global clinical development, Japan is attracting growing attention as a clinical trial location, the partners noted. At the same time, more and more Japanese pharmaceutical companies are widening their development programmes to include India and other Asian markets.

Japan is often a missed opportunity due to the specific local requirements for drug approvals, noted D A Prasanna, founder of Ecron Acunova. “With sponsors increasingly including Japan in drug development programmes, it is imperative for us to establish our operations through experts like Tokyo CRO in the region,” he commented.

According to The Hindu Business Line, Ecron Acunova expects the alliance to generate 40-50 clinical trials between India and Japan over the next two to three years, adding 15-20% to its business. Prasanna was quoted as saying that Indian companies had tended to shy away from Japan to date, putting Ecron Acunova around one year ahead of its competitors in that market.

SIRO Clinpharm-Mediscis alliance

SIRO Clinpharm, another increasingly global CRO with headquarters in India, has teamed up with Mediscis, an early drug development company based in Poitiers and La Rochelle, France.

According to SIRO Clinpharm, Mediscis is an expert in Good Clinical Practice-standard early-phase development services including clinical trials and bioanalytics.

The alliance builds on the European footprint established by SIRO Clinpharm in April 2008 through its acquisition of Omega Mediation Group, a CRO based in Germany and with operations in Greece, the Baltic States and Israel.