UK-based contract research organisation (CRO) Chiltern International continues down the path of rapid global expansion it has beaten since its acquisition by private investment group Czura Thornton in July 2006, this time securing a gateway to Asia through a tie-up with Japanese CRO EPS International.

Under the global partnership agreement with EPS International, a subsidiary of publicly owned EPS Co., Ltd that started operations in April 2007, Chiltern will provide the Japanese CRO with clinical development services from its network of offices in 23 countries throughout Europe, North America, South America and India. EPS International will supply reciprocal services for the Asian region from its offices in Japan, China, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan.

Both companies’ businesses cover the spectrum from Phase I trials to Phase IV post-marketing studies. According to Dr Tatsuhiko Ichiki, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of EPS International, the CROs also “have similar business philosophies and are both well regarded for the quality of their clinical services and personnel”. The partnership is timely for EPS as the core of its business has been in Asia while demand for global trials outside the region has been rising, Ichiki noted.

“Asia is becoming an increasingly attractive market for clinical trial services and finding a partner with a meaningful presence and experience of conducting clinical trials throughout Southeast Asia is an important development for Chiltern,” commented the UK company’s CEO, Glenn Kerkhof.

Chiltern has been on a roll of late in its efforts to widen the company’s international reach. In April the CRO stepped up its presence in Russia and the wider Central and Eastern European market by opening an office in St. Petersburg. A new office in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon followed in May and later that month Chiltern announced the appointment of Oscar Podesta as general manager for Latin America, along with plans to open an office in Argentina during the third quarter of this year.

Enhanced EDC

The company has also beefed up its portfolio of electronic data capture (EDC) services by integrating DataLabs v4.1.4, the EDC system acquired by UK clinical technology specialist ClinPhone with US company Datalabs in October 2006, into its suite of clinical trial management applications.

Chiltern’s in-house EDC capabilities now include the provision of all eClinical services relating to the DataLabs by ClinPhone system, with electronic case report form (eCRF) hosting services available at Chiltern locations in Bristol, Tennessee (US) and London (UK).

In April, Chiltern achieved Medidata Rave certification under ASPire to Win, the non-exclusive application service provider partnership offered by Medidata Solutions, a US company that specialises in new technologies for planning and managing clinical trials such as the Medidata Rave EDC system.

“As a result and in addition to our well-established existing Rave services relating to EDC training and data management, Chiltern now also has the capability to programme eCRFs using Rave and collaborates with Medidata for support services such as hosting,” the CRO pointed out.

Chiltern demonstrated its commitment to new clinical trial technology when it launched a global support group, EDC Solutions, in January 2005. In July 2007 it reinforced that commitment by tapping into ClinPhone's EDC software and partnering with Medidata for its Rave EDC solution.