OpenClinica, LLC (formerly Akaza Research), the US-based company that supplies web-based open-source software for electronic data capture and clinical data management, is extending its reach into the burgeoning Chinese market through a strategic alliance with Athena Healthcare Consultancy.

Operating out of Shanghai, Athena has been offering clinical research, medical publishing and pharmaceutical marketing services to clients in China since 2005.

Under its alliance with OpenClinica, Athena will act as exclusive distributor of the OpenClinica Enterprise edition in China, as well as providing localised support and services for contract research organisations, pharmaceutical companies and scientific institutes operating in that market.

“For the past six years OpenClinica has been used in FDA-regulated clinical trials,” said director of business development Ben Baumann. “We are excited to bring this world-class technology to China, which is increasing its standards for clinical research.”

Location of choice

As the new partners noted, China not only has its own rapidly growing biopharmaceutical industry but is increasingly a location of choice for global clinical trial sponsors.

Improving regulations, a large patient population, and capable/motivated investigators are among the factors that make China an increasingly appealing research destination, they commented.

The strategic alliance “will allow us to better support China’s growing pharmaceutical and biotech research industries with a complete, fully localised solution for running clinical trials more productively and according to global-standard good clinical practices”, stated Dr Ivan Tjong-A-Hung, general manager of Athena Healthcare Consultancy.

In June, OpenClinica said the number of clinical trials powered by its software had grown by 250% over the last year, with worldwide usage estimated at more than 400 active production implementations. Over 12,000 people and organisations had now joined the OpenClinica online community, it added.