A new joint venture between physicians from the US and Panama aims to cultivate trial sites in the Latin American country using a model developed by the Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research (JCCR).

Pan-American Medical Research Institute (PAMRI) SA brings together JCCR, which conducts trials at sites in Florida under the supervision of a panel of more than 100 community-based physician investigators, with Panamanian physicians led by Dr Nestor Sosa, director general of the Gorgas Institute for Health Studies and a board member of PAMRI, and Dr Rita Trujillo, site medical director for the initiative.

Dr Michael Koren, chief executive officer (CEO) of JCCR and president of the Center’s Board of directors, will act as PAMRI’s CEO also. 

Panama is increasingly recognised by research sponsors as “a reliable locale in Latin America for the conduct of clinical trials”, PAMRI noted. The joint venture will work to build up the country’s research capabilities, drawing on “the same strategies and high standards found at our US locations”, Dr Koren said. 

All of the PAMRI sites will deploy the Encore Research platform created by JCCR for standard operating procedures, compliance with Good Clinical Practice, excellence in recruitment, and staff/investigator training.

Encore Research is a division of JCCR that develops software and educational tools to enhance patient recruitment, physician and staff training, and day-to-day research operations.

Drs Sosa and Trujillo will lead and further develop a team of investigators in Panama whose clinical trial experience includes vaccines, HIV/AIDS, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, paediatrics, pneumonia and primary prevention. 

PAMRI will open a physical site in medical offices at the Consultorios Medicos Paitilla practice in Panama City.

The three physician leaders cited among Panama’s attractions as a destination for clinical trials the country’s diverse population, its highly qualified – and largely bilingual – medical community and its position as “a geographic middle ground between North America and rapidly developing South America”. 

Set up in 1997, JCCR is a multi-specialty research organisation whose business model is designed to maximise the involvement of community-based physicians in clinical trials in Florida.