Another Indian contract research organisation (CRO) has demonstrated the sector’s ability to leverage its rapid growth into international territories by buying its way into the German market.

Billing itself as India’s leading full-service contract research organisation, Siro Clinpharm Pvt Ltd has acquired Omega Mediation Group, a medium-sized CRO based in Germany and with “operational capabilities” in Greece, the Baltic States and Israel, for an undisclosed cash sum.

Last July Siro acquired Global Client Partners, a US-based CRO with strong client networks in the local pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The Indian company said the deal with Omega was “the latest in a series of carefully planned internal and external moves to position Siro among the leading mid-sized contract research organisations worldwide”.

Germany was also the entry point to the European market for Manipal AcuNova, the Indian CRO that last November completed the acquisition of Frankfurt-based ECRON, again at an undisclosed price.

Siro and Omega have combined turnover of around Rs 2 billion, a figure the Indian company hopes to double by 2010, partly through geographical expansion into emerging regions for clinical research – a strategy that could include further acquisitions.

“We are pursuing our vision of creating CRO capabilities in non-traditional geographies including Central and Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and South America,” commented Dr Gautam Daftary, board chairman of Siro Clinpharm. The Omega acquisition was the first step towards “creating capabilities in these regions in the near future”, he added.

According to Siro, the deal provides it with operational capabilities in five key European countries plus Israel and access to Omega’s longstanding client relationships with major European pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The German company will continue to trade under the Omega Mediation name while the current management “will continue with the organisation and contribute to the further planned growth and expansion in Europe”.

Omega managing director Sofia Hofmann said the CRO remained committed to offering “the level of expertise and service that built Omega’s reputation to this point and now as a Siro group company we have the opportunity to compete for large global studies, and large-scale and complex clinical data management projects”.

Omega was founded by Hoffman in Bingen, Germany in 1992, originally as a troubleshooting CRO. It established a Greek office, now known as Omega Mediation Hellas Ltd, in 1994. Six years later Omega set up a joint venture with the Institute of Clinical Research in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2003 it expanded into data management and biostatistics by acquiring an experienced team from a pharmaceutical company in Germany.

Siro Clinpharm was founded in 1996 as one of the first CROs in India and now employs more than 400 staff, with offices in Mumbai, India and Princeton, US. In January 2006 it formed a joint venture, Ventiv-Siro (India), with the Ventiv Clinical Services division of US-headquartered inventive Clinical Solutions to provide India-based clinical data management services.