Clinical trials going off both shores

They’re coming from both oceans! In an earlier post I mentioned Austrailian and New Zeland companies that want to do medical trials cheaper than the US cost. Bang, here’s an article from BW about a Hungarian company that’s going right after the clinical trial market. The venture capitalists like what they see: a chance to make a good profit by carving out a piece of the costly drug proving process.

What makes this business noteworthy, both as a business and as an indication of future direction for venture investors, is that the Hungarian company, Goodwill Research, isn’t just handling repetitive or mundane tasks, like software service calls or data-entry work. Rather, it is a highly sophisticated medical-services company that specializes in conducting clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies — at one-fourth to one-third the cost of the going rates in the U.S.

Clinical trials present hurdles on a number of fronts. It can be difficult to recruit enough patients because of the requirement that studies be double-blind. Patients in the grip of a worsening disease often resist the notion that they may be consuming a placebo instead of the new drug being tested. If patients drop out during a study, the results may become questionable. In addition, studies may extend longer than expected, and costs increase beyond budgets.

Hungary has a highly sophisticated scientific community with much experience in many aspects of medicine and medical research. Even more significant from a business perspective, Hungary’s personnel and facilities costs are a fraction of America’s. In addition, it is easier in Hungary to obtain volunteers for double-blind studies, and they tend to stick with the studies, reducing time and money expenditures further compared to the U.S. Already, Goodwill Research is working with a number of sizeable American pharmaceutical companies, lowering their costs for conducting clinical trials.

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