US-based contract research organisation (CRO) Parexel International has formed an alliance with Safe Implementation of Thrombolysis in Stroke (SITS) International, which the CRO describes as “the world’s largest network of clinical sites with specialised capabilities in the area of stroke”.

Parexel’s clients will benefit from SITS International’s access to more than 800 investigator sites in 40 countries dedicated to the treatment of acute-stroke patients and to Phase II-IV stroke-related clinical trials, the CRO noted.

“According to the World Health Organization, 15 million people suffer from stroke worldwide each year and, with the aging population, biopharmaceutical companies are turning to Parexel with respect to an increasing number of clinical programmes focused on advancing new stroke treatments,” commented Dr Mark Goldberg, the company’s chief operating officer.

Combining SITS’ highly specialised capabilities with Parexel’s expertise in the central nervous system will “help clients execute stroke-related studies more efficiently on a global basis”, he added. The tie-up will provide Parexel’s customers with a broad range of stroke-related programme options, including clinical, post-marketing and safety studies as well as patient registries.

Based at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, SITS is an academic-driven, non-profit, international collaboration that started out as an initiative by participants in the European-Australian randomised stroke thrombolysis studies (ECASS) and subsequently expanded to a number of centres internationally.

The alliance with Parexel is designed to reinforce SITS’ role as a platform for clinical trials, the organisation explained, emphasising that the relationship “will in no way change SITS basic objectives or our standing as an independent academic network of stroke clinics”.

SITS is currently preparing its database for clinical trials, to be conducted either as specific SITS projects or as part of the European Union Seventh Framework Programme consortia EUSTROKE and ARISE. The organisation “will also be able to communicate invitations to our member centres to participate in sponsored trials [in] which SITS may nor be directly involved”, it added.