St. Petersburg, Russia-based Eastern European contract research organization (CRO) Outsourcing Clinical Trials (OCT) is strengthening its position in the region with the opening of its new office in Minsk, Belarus.
“Belarus is a very attractive region to conduct clinical trials, from our point of view,” said Ekaterina Mochalova, business development manager at OCT.
Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) represents the largest number of global clinical trial initiations outside North America and Western Europe.
The number of global clinical trials that CEE countries initiated last year are more than double those initiated in the Asia-Pacific region and more than double those initiated in South America. The growth frontier of global clinical research has been shifting ever eastward in the region.
Among the factors that made Belarus attractive, Mochalova cited low competition among ongoing clinical trials; a treatment-naïve population; a healthcare system that is still centralized, which allows OCT to enroll more patients at fewer investigative sites; and qualified investigators who provide clinical data of high quality.
Belarus has a population of 10 million, 70% of which is urban and living in cities such as Minsk, Gomel, Mogilev,Vitebsk, Grodno, Brest and others.
Mochalova also cited the Belarus government’s support of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) as a reason for opening an office there.
“There are special courses under control of the Center of Expertise and Research in Public Health which take place every three months. On finishing them, the trainees receive a certificate allowing them to practice in GCP trials,” she said.
OCT has about 50 employees with two in the Minsk office. OCT has its headquarters in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as four other offices in addition to the one in Minsk, in Sofia, Bulgaria; Riga, Latvia; Moscow, Russia; and Kiev, Ukraine. The company has 12 active clinical trials, with two active trials in Belarus—one in oncology and the other in urology.
“Our vision is to be one of the leading CROs in Eastern Europe. Therefore, we are planning to widen our activities, but step by step.As soon as we strengthen in the regions of our presence today, we will go forward. Opening offices in Poland, Romania and Hungary are in our projections,” said Mochalova.