US-based contract research organisation (CRO) Kendle has now opened its new operations centre in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar Knowledge Corridor in India.

Kendle announced in March that it had approval from the Indian authorities to set up the operations centre, which focuses on clinical data management, medical writing, pharmacovigilance/safety, biostatistics/programming and other services related to knowledge processing.

“These clinical support services are integrated under one roof, providing an efficient operations hub for Kendle in the region,” the CRO said.

The centre will initially employ some 50 professionals. It is expected to scale up to around 300 associates in the near term and is positioned for rapid expansion to meet further customer demand, Kendle noted.

It described the facility as an important and strategic investment for Kendle that demonstrated the company’s continuing commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. “Growth in India is a key component of our strategy and will be very important to the future of Kendle,” commented Stephen Cutler, the CRO’s senior vice president and chief operating officer.

IMS Health believes pharmaceutical sales in India will grow at a compound annual rate of 12-14% in 2010 and 13-16% in the following five years. This trend is supported by a biotechnology market in India that is expanding at an estimated 30% per year and by a CRO market expected to show annual growth of 49%, Kendle noted.

The company already operates throughout the Asia-Pacific region from offices in Ahmedabad and New Dehli, India; Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Bangkok, Thailand; Manila, the Philippines; Singapore; and Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.