The roster of more than 7,000 service providers on goBalto, an online drug development partnering site launched just last month, has now expanded to include investigator sites and hospitals in India, through a partnership with locally active contract research organisation (CRO) Maya Clinicals.

Headquartered in Mountain View, US but with facilities in Hyderabad, India, Maya Clinicals says it has accumulated an “extensive” network of hospitals, principal investigators and clinical research associates for Phase I to Phase IV trials in India over the last five years.

The proprietary list of sites now included on goBalto is divided into two categories: ‘sourced by Maya Clinicals’, which means the CRO has identified these investigator sites as actively operating in India and maintains information on them; and ‘screened by Maya Chemicals’, meaning the CRO has visited the site, met with senior management and reviewed the specific capabilities on offer.

goBalto cited a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study that valued the Indian CRO market at US$323 million in 2007. Driven largely by outsourcing from multinationals, the market is projected to grow at 49% per year, reaching nearly US$900 million in 2010, it added. Meanwhile, the global CRO market is growing at an estimated 12.6% per year.

“Unless you’ve been actively conducting trials, it is quite challenging for drug development professionals, unfamiliar with India’s outsourcing industry, to find qualified investigator sites there,” commented Jae Chung, founder and chief executive officer of goBalto. “By interfacing Maya Clinicals’ list to our platform, users will be able to more quickly and easily evaluate the leading investigator sites in the region and become informed about the exciting, high-growth Indian market.”

Since launching in April, the online site has attracted more than 2,000 members from the research, manufacturing and procurement divisions of leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology organisations the world over, it says.