Trial Form Support International (TFS), a Swedish company that describes itself as Europe’s largest unlisted contract research organisation (CRO), has established regional headquarters for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in the Budapest metropolitan area of Hungary.

TFS intends to expand its activities in the region, setting up “a number of new legal entities and clinical operations teams in CEE markets”, it said. The initial focus will be on project delivery for Phase II and III clinical trials as well as providing contract staff placement solutions to some of the region’s leading pharmaceutical companies. Priority will be given to building commercial relationships with industry, academia and the healthcare sector.

The CRO’s “comprehensive” investment in CEE markets is expected to start having a significant impact on TFS’ organic growth, in terms of market share and key financial data, from mid-2009 onwards, the company noted.

There are still “solid” growth opportunities for international CROs in Central and Eastern Europe, commented Dr Zoltan Kelemen, who has been appointed managing director of TFS CEE.

“Several countries in the region are maturing while some are still very much emerging and hold a high potential in terms of patient recruitment,” he added. “We aim to establish clinical operations in a very focused and determined way and will expand into several key markets [during] the coming two years.”

Founded in Lund, Sweden 12 years ago, TFS is a full-service CRO catering to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, diagnostic and functional food industries. Services range from early clinical development to clinical operations (Phases II to IV), data management, regulatory affairs, quality assurance, patient recruitment and contract resourcing.

TFS has more than 470 employees working in 15 countries across Europe, India, Japan and the US. It conducts clinical trials throughout Europe, with an emphasis on Scandinavia, the Benelux countries, the UK, the Baltic States, Russia, Spain, Italy and Portugal.