US-based biopharmaceutical services company Quintiles has formed a strategic alliance with the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, taking the company’s Prime Site programme for the first time into Asia.

Prime sites are large medical institutions that collaborate with Quintiles to enhance their infrastructure for conducting clinical trials. They are the next level above the company’s partner site programme, which involves more than 1,100 high-performing, high-enrolling sites spread across 20 countries.

In May, the Southern California Permanente Medical Group of US managed care organisation Kaiser Permanente became the latest recruit to the Prime Site programme, joining existing locations in South Africa (University of Pretoria), the UK (Queen Mary’s College, London) and the US (Washington Hospital Center in Washington D.C.).

The UMMC “is an ideal partner for us because of its experience in conducting clinical research, its access to substantial patient populations and its clinical expertise across multiple therapeutic areas”, commented Dr Christopher Cabell, Quintiles’ senior vice president of global access to patients.

Malaysia is an increasingly important player in the Asia Pacific region’s clinical drug development sector and “the commitment of its government, academic and private industry leaders to promoting leading-edge clinical research in the country is undeniable”, said Dr Anand Tharmaratnam, senior vice president and head of clinical development for Quintiles Asia-Pacific.

Coupled with a highly skilled clinical workforce, a strong clinical research infrastructure and large available patient populations, this makes Malaysia and the UMMC “a quality fit as our first Prime Site in Asia”, he added.

Quintiles opened its first Asia Pacific office in 1993 and now runs more than 20 offices in 14 countries throughout the region, as well as regional headquarters in Singapore.