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CenterWatch’s 42nd Annual DIA Round Up

Monday, June 26, 2006

This year’s Drug Information Association (DIA) 42nd annual industry conference, held in Philadelphia, Penn attracted nearly 10,000 attendees from across every sector in the drug development industry. Presenting at the show were over 400 U.S. and close to 200 international companies, from both developed markets and emerging regions around the globe. Nearly 1,000 delegates from 50 countries were scheduled to attend.

While attending last week’s conference, CenterWatch gathered an abundance of exciting news, conference highlights and emerging trends from across the industry. Here is a quick summary of just a few of the many notable events during the show:

  • Further acknowledging the growth in the phase I trial sector, PRA International announced the acquisition of Dutch, Pharma Bio-Research, a 300-employee, early-phase clinical development company based in Zuidlaren. During an interview at DIA Pat Donnelly, chief executive officer of PRA, said that the new acquisition was “very aggressive in replicating what they currently have in the Netherlands not only in Europe but also in the United States, and five years from now, or even less than that, hopefully in Asia and Latin America.” When asked about how the PRA and PBR relationship arose Donnelly commented: “We were looking first and foremost in Europe and I’ve been having conversations with PBR for three years now. We’ve always liked that business and been trying to figure out how long the courtship needed to be.”
  • Emerging markets remains one of the hottest topics in the clinical trials industry with nearly a dozen sessions specifically centered on conducting clinical trials in counties like China, India and Latin America. Among the many countries covered, India was a topic of high interest. During a unique session entitled “How to Assure Quality When Clinical Trials Are Conducted in Developing Countries” industry professionals and government officials from India discussed issues regarding best practices for clinical trial conduct in India. The session was chaired by James Utterback, MS, CEO of Scirex Corporation and included speakers from Wyeth (Robert Maguire, MD Vice President of Clinical R&D), Clinigene (Head of Clinical Operations) and India’s Drugs Controller General Ashwini Kumar, MPHARM.
  • Post-approval outcome studies are certainly on the rise since the increased emphasis on safety over the year and a half. Apparently recognizing this high growth area, ICON Clinical announced the acquisition of Ovation Research Group, an Illinois-based patient registries, outcomes research and health economics firm. The company conducts prospective pharmacoeconomic and quality-of-life analysis, statistical analysis, disease and product registries and health outcomes research.
  • In a similar step towards the collection of post-approval outcomes data, recently gone public etrials announced a partnership with Relsys International, an adverse event reporting software provider based in Irving-Calif. The partnership will allow etrails to integrate Relsys’ Argus Safety Web into their own eClinical suites. “Being able to identify and report critical patient safety data is more important than ever,” said etrials chief executive officer John Cline.
  • During the show, the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida-based EDC company, OmniComm Systems, announced the launch of version 4.0 for their eClinical software suite called TrialMaster. The new version was not just the standard update to prior releases, but incorporates some major enhancements. The software suite now includes better data and trial management functionality, and promises to provide increased flexibility in working within clients’ own systems.
  • And finally, eClinical software provider Datalabs’ big ‘booth give away’ could arguably be the most impressive of the event. A free 2-year lease on a Toyota Prius hybrid. The winner was Michael K. Olchaskey of Forest Research Institute, a division of Forest Labs.

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