Averion Ramps up in Eastern Europe with Ukraine Office
Adding yet another key Eastern European country to its footprint in the region, Southborough,Mass.-based contract research organization (CRO) Averion has opened an office in Kiev, Ukraine—the country’s capital and largest city. The office is being led by Evgeny Levenko, M.D., PhD, Averion’s affiliate manager for Ukraine.
Initially staffed by seven clinical management professionals, the office is expected to ramp up quickly. The company said that all of its clinical research associates (CRAs) at the unit are medical doctors with previous experience running clinical trials as investigators.
“Officially, our history in the Ukraine is about a month long, but we’ve actually been working in the country for quite a while and have a good reputation there. Ukraine is one of the biggest countries in Europe with a population of about 15 million people. In the city of Kiev alone, there are about three million people,” said Levenko.
The Ukraine’s centralized healthcare system was also a draw for Averion. Since all medical expenses are covered by the state there are no insurance-related issues for participating subjects. The country also has nearly 50 medical universities and 33 healthcare institutions at which to conduct studies.
Anton Mamin, senior regional director for Eastern Europe at Averion, stated that Ukraine is very well known throughout the republics of the former Soviet Union for its strength in oncology and cardiology research. Ukraine’s regulatory system and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) standards are closely tied with European laws. The European Clinical Trials Directive was adopted by Ukraine in 2004 and has recently become a member of the World Trade Organization.
Mamin, who is based in Moscow, added that Ukrainian economic conditions allow Averion to pass on significant cost savings to its clients. Currently, Ukraine is not part of the European Union (EU) and its currency is not tied to the euro.
Averion has been steadily building its worldwide coverage as it looks to compete with large global competitors. The CRO has wide coverage throughout Europe, with European operations based in Basel, Switzerland, and offices in France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Poland, Russia, Germany, Austria, and now Ukraine. It also has operation centers in Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
“There are other republics that were part of the old Soviet regime that are also prime for development, for instance, in Belorussia [or Belarus], which also has a reputation of excellence in oncology research. We are realizing that we are definitely losing time by not going there. Because Belorussia and Russia are considered one state in terms of political views and regulations, we would be able to operate there more easily,” said Mamin.
Averion has been in discussions with the Ministries of Health of both Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
“This is a very promising area as well because of their intense interest in economic growth and their recent improvements in their healthcare system,” he said.