German contract research organization (CRO) Clinicalprojects is preparing to expand its services and global footprint in 2010, but founder Joerg Breitkopf said the company’s growth will be controlled.
Clinicalprojects does work in 10 European countries—the UK, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Czech Republic—but only has an office in Germany. The CRO plans to open the company’s first foreign office in Italy in the first half of year. Breitkopf is still negotiating where the office will be located but said it will be near Milan.
Clinicalprojects wants to be an international CRO with very local roots, Breitkopf said. When he founded the company in 2007, he opened its headquarters in Germany because that’s where he and his family lived. Similarly, Breitkopf has worked in Italy and would consider living there if he ever left Germany.
“I’ve worked in the clinical trials field already for some years. Whenever I worked with Italy and the Italian people and saw their high dedication to the quality of work, that was something I always kept in mind,” he said.
Clinicalprojects has three people already working in Italy. The company plans to hire a business development person to staff the new office.
Although Breitkopf said Italy is well-suited to clinicalprojects’ first international office, he warned that the country may not be a good starting point for most companies.
“Italy is a very difficult market for clinical trials because the legislation there is a little bit tricky. To run clinical trials, you really need to have good people on the ground. Otherwise, it would be my recommendation not to go to Italy because it’s so complex. We are used to tricky, and we like the challenges,” he said.
Clinicalprojects may also open offices in the UK and Spain this year, depending on how the Italy office goes. The CRO already has three people working in the UK, and 20 full-time employees overall.