US-based contract research organisation (CRO) PPD has continued its push into emerging markets for clinical research, opening a pharmacovigilance and medical communications centre in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia.

PPD will offer medical information call-centre support, adverse event capture, safety case processing and reporting, and periodic report-writing from Sofia, which will become the company’s largest safety centre and its third European hub for medical communications contact centre services.

The CRO already supplies these from a site in Athlone, Ireland, where it opened a contract research facility incorporating an 18,000sq ft analytical testing laboratory and a clinical supplies business last March. PPD also operates contact centre services out of Stockholm, Sweden.

This infrastructure gives the CRO the capability to provide biopharmaceutical companies with global and regional support for pre- and post-approval drug safety and medical information, it noted.

With a number of medical and pharmacy schools in the area, Sofia offers a large pool of highly trained healthcare professionals with extensive language capabilities, PPD said. The new centre employs doctors, pharmacists, nurses and medical specialists who provide a range of support services including product inquiries, adverse event and product complaint intake, case processing, and reporting drug safety concerns.

The CRO has already hired over 20 employees for the Sofia facility and plans to boost the staff count to more than 200 over the next 12 months.