Recession effects and the strong dollar aside, Covance is pushing ahead with beefing up its presence in new markets for clinical research. The US-based contract research organisation (CRO) has opened clinical development offices in Kiev (Ukraine), Bratislava (Slovakia) and Tel Aviv (Israel) respectively.

Covance said the new offices and staff would help it to “expedite the execution of clinical studies and build strategic relationships with investigators and sites in countries well known for their excellent potential to contribute to global clinical trial conduct”.

The company has been providing clinical trial support in Central and Eastern Europe since 1994, with offices in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania and Russia, it noted. The Kiev and Bratislava offices will back up staff in Ukraine and Slovakia, including Covance’s regional network of field-based clinical research associates throughout Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

The CRO also has an established presence in South-Eastern Europe (Greece and Turkey) and the Middle East (Israel and Egypt), with Israel a strategic location since 1995. The new Tel Aviv office will centralise operations and support staff across both regions, Covance explained.

“We will continue moving forward with our strategy to expand into geographies that align our therapeutic focus with investigators that consistently demonstrate high-quality results, regulatory compliance and enrollment performance to meet the current and future clinical research needs of our clients,” commented Dr Robert Davie, Covance’s vice president and general manager, clinical development services Europe.

In 2008, 60.1% of the CRO’s net revenue was generated in the US, compared with 62.0% in 2007, while 13.1% (14.5% in 2007) came from the UK, 12.5% (10.5%) from Switzerland, 6.7% (5.8%) from Euro Zone countries and 7.6% (7.2%) from other countries that included a mix of more than 20 currencies.