Synexus, the patient recruitment and clinical trial management business acquired last December by private equity firm Lyceum Capital, has hit a milestone with more than 10,000 patients currently enrolled in late-stage studies.

The enrollees are spread across Synexus’ 14 ‘hub sites’ in six countries. According to the company, its hub site model – a network of dedicated sites that specialise in patient recruitment and trial management – is increasingly being taken up by the pharmaceutical industry as it “dramatically” reduces costs (often by a factor of 10), improves the quality of study data and speeds up recruitment.

More than 25 clinical trials using this model are being carried out at hub sites in the UK, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, India and South Africa, encompassing a wide range of therapeutic areas including osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer prevention, diabetes, sexual dysfunction, cardiac disease, urinary incontinence, migraine and osteoarthritis.

Michael Fort, chief executive officer of Synexus, said the company was hoping to have doubled its tally of enrollees by next year as it boosts the capacity of existing hub sites and opens new sites in the US and Eastern Europe. This expansion was being driven by industry’s desire to “reduce costs and professionalise the recruitment and running of late-stage clinical trials”, he added.

Delayed start dates for contracted clinical trials were behind Synexus' decision to yield to a private-equity buyout. The delays cut into the company's turnover and profit for the year ended 31 March 2007 while its share price plummeted, muddying Synexus' ‘buy-and-build’ path to a global clinical trial platform.