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Synexus Acquires Three Sites in Poland

Monday, August 31, 2009

Manchester, England-based Synexus plans to double its operations in Poland through the acquisition of three clinical trial sites.

The sites, owned by CLCC (which, in Polish, stands for the Center for Civilized Studies in Research), are located in Warsaw, Gdynia and Katowice and will complement Synexus’ existing Polish site in Wroclaw. Although a much smaller business than Synexus, which has 250 employees and 17 research centers across the UK, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, India and South Africa, CLCC is a site management organization (SMO) like Synexus with dedicated research centers.

Synexus would not release any financial information about the deal with CLCC, whose 30 employees will stay on with Synexus.

“It is a perfect fit,” said Synexus CEO Michael Fort. “There are very, very few dedicated research sites in the world. Most sites are based on doctors in practice doing it as a sort of adjunct to their normal day job. Then, we come across this guy who is doing it like we do for a living. A discussion between us was inevitable.”

“This guy” was Dr. Andrzej Opadczuk, who founded CLCC four years ago.  Synexus became aware of his business through its work with sponsors for which CLCC was also working.

“When the sponsors send out information sheets and newsletters on how the studies are doing, usually Synexus stands out on its own because you’ve got a whole list of sites that are doing five and six patients a site and then you’ve got Synexus with 100, 200 patients … What stood out was who are these people in Poland who are actually doing 20, 30, 40 patients a site?” Fort said.

Synexus and CLCC began talking about a possible acquisition about a year ago and decided to move forward with the deal this spring.

Opadczuk will continue to manage the three Polish centers, reporting to Synexus Central and Eastern Europe vice president Christian Tueni. “[Opadczuk’s] job is to carry on growing what he’s doing in these three new cities but also to ‘Synexus-cise’ them—basically to get all our [standard operating procedures] and quality systems in place so that, effectively, the quality and standard of a patient recruited at one of his sites is the same as a patient recruited at one of ours,” Fort said. The SMO plans to convert the CLCC sites to full-size Synexus sites—particularly in Katowice where there’s a very large population—by expanding the number of clinic rooms and hiring more PIs and nurses.

Synexus has operated in Poland since 2005 and has 25 to 30 trials on-going. The CLCC acquisition gives the company a total of about 50 active trials in Poland, Fort said. He expects the number of trials in Poland to double in the next few years, with the number of patients enrolled growing three-fold.

“Although you perhaps don’t automatically think of Poland when you’re looking at normal demographics, in terms of patient recruitment, Poland is a fantastic country to be in,” Fort said. “We have been absolutely amazed by the success of patient recruitment in Poland … Our revenues from Poland have increased two and a half times. Poland really is a tremendous place to be for clinical trials.”

Synexus also has plans to acquire sites in other countries in the coming months, Fort said, particularly in India where the SMO has its eye on two geographic areas. He hopes to make an acquisition announcement for that country within the next six months with other deals possibly to come in other countries before then.

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