Anglo-Asian contract research organisation (CRO) Veeda Clinical Research Group has signed a collaborative agreement with the Malaysian Ministry of Health to open a Phase I and Early Clinical Development Unit in Kuala Lumpur.

The unit is scheduled to open in a ward of the Ampang Hospital towards the end of this year. It will be a 28-bed facility equipped for Phase I trials and experimental medicine studies in selected populations. The unit will initially have 12 fully monitored beds with telemetry and access to the MUSE digital storage system for electrocardiographic studies.

All of the practical elements of managing clinical trials will be handled by Veeda’s in-house teams, to include project management, data management and quality assurance. The CRO’s large analytical facility in Ahmedabad, India will provide bio-analysis and pharmacokinetic services as needed. The plan is that, as the Ampang Hospital unit expands, more services will be supplied locally from within Malaysia.

As Veeda noted, the Ministry of Health has been keen to establish a network of clinical research offices in all of the major Malaysian hospitals. These offices tap into extensive disease registries, offering a valuable resource for clinical researchers.

“The development of a clinical research facility in the Ampang Hospital is the first move in a whole chain of activities intended to place Malaysia in the forefront of early clinical research in the ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] area,” commented Dr Teck-Onn Lim, director of clinical research centres for the Malaysian health service.

Along with Malaysia’s “clear advantages” as a location for early-phase trials and the large pool of talent among its physicians and scientists, Veeda cited the “huge drive” by the Malaysian Biotechcorp to attract both service organisations and major pharmaceutical players to the country as a significant factor in securing the CRO’s commitment to the Ampang Hospital project.