US-based contract research organisation (CRO) PPD has continued its drive into Eastern Europe, opening a new office in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Istanbul office builds on PPD’s recent move to expand its Phase II-IV presence in Russia and Ukraine through an agreement to acquire InnoPharm, an independent CRO based in Smolensk. PPD will provide clinical monitoring services in key therapeutic areas from the new location, it said.

“With a population of 74 million people, Turkey is becoming an attractive place to conduct clinical trials,” commented Fred Eshelman, chief executive officer of PPD. “Eastern Europe offers recruitment opportunities and quality investigators, and our Istanbul office is an important part of our strategic growth in this region.”

PPD plans to “continue to expand in areas where there is high demand for our global experience and therapeutic expertise”, Eshelman added.

The CRO has been aggressively pursuing this course of late. In January PPD extended its global central laboratory services into China through an exclusive agreement with local testing laboratory Peking Union Lawke Biomedical Development Limited.

During the third quarter of 2007, the CRO both realigned its regional clinical operations and opened new offices in Australia, Denmark, Portugal and Peru. PPD opened a second office in Mumbai, India last December.