Mediscience Planning, a Japanese contract research organisation (CRO) whose activities range from monitoring, data management and pharmacovigilance in clinical trials to consulting and medical writing, is scheduled to list on the Hercules market of the Osaka Securities Exchange on 7 October.

The Tokyo-based CRO will issue 250,000 new shares in an initial public offering (IPO) extending from 29 September to 2 October 2008. There will also be a secondary offering of 250,000 existing shares. The offering price will be fixed on 26 September.

Mediscience Planning was set up in September 1982 and is capitalised at Y235,020,000 (€1,559,940). As of April 2008, the CRO had a staff of 485. Non-consolidated revenues for the fiscal year ended 31 August 2007 were Y4.31 billion, generating net profit of Y161.3 million.

In the past, the clinical trial sector in Japan has been held back by factors including restrictions on foreign clinical data in drug applications, high costs, the reluctance of many patients to take part in trials and poor communication between doctors and patients. More recent years have seen a deregulatory trend, though, and a bounce-back in clinical trial applications.

In March 2007 the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) announced a five-year plan to regenerate the Japanese environment for clinical trials in Japan, including subsidies for medical institutions, resourcing initiatives, standardisation, a review of guidelines on ethics approvals, the development of centres for regenerative medicine and the promotion of trial site networks.