SOURCE: Kalorama Information

Kalorama Information

June 11, 2010 10:10 ET

Eastern European Offshoring One of Many Trends in Drug Discovery

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - June 11, 2010) -  Russia, Hungary and Ukraine are among the nations seeing investment from pharmaceutical companies as they reduce costs and find experts in drug discovery activities, according to healthcare market research publisher Kalorama Information. According to its report, "Outsourcing in Drug Discovery: The Contract Research Organization (CRO) Market, 4th Edition," a major trend that continues to gain momentum is the use of outsourcing partners in Eastern Europe, one of several trends that is driving the global drug discovery market to $7.2 billion in 2009, up 15% from $6.3 billion in 2008. 

"It is not only large pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies that are moving their outsourcing offshore, but smaller biopharmaceutical companies are following this trend as well," said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. "Increasingly, we are seeing that these moves are being made not only to realize cost savings, but also to take advantage of knowledge in these countries." 

To keep pace with the Chinese and Indian competition, many CROs in the former Soviet bloc have culled together their most experienced chemists and are providing services which include preparing custom libraries, advancing screening hits into families of leads, and designing libraries that target important biomolecules, such as kinases and ion channels. Many also offer, or are planning to offer in the near future, in vitro biological screening of the chemical libraries they build. The drug discovery CRO landscape in Eastern Europe is still highly fragmented, with a large number of private companies competing. The leaders are US-Russian-integrated CROs ChemBridge and Chemical Diversity. Other successful competitors in the region are Asinex and Enamine. Major CROs operating in Russia and Ukraine also have facilities in North America. 

CROs in Russia and Ukraine emerged as the Soviet bloc dissolved in the early 1990s. After the breakup, scientific funding plunged, and many highly experienced and highly educated chemists essentially found themselves out of work. Today, funding for academic research in Russia and Ukraine remains limited, leaving a pool of highly trained chemists in search of employment. This situation has driven entrepreneurial academics to establish contract businesses, which operate primarily in Moscow and Kiev, although a few exist in other cities as well.

New York-based drug discovery CRO Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI) acquired ComGenex, a drug discovery services firm located in Budapest, Hungary in 2007. Renamed AMRI Hungary, the company integrates innovative, early stage drug discovery technologies, including proprietary methods in the area of library synthesis, compound collections and lead discovery. In the future, AMRI Hungary plans to expand its capabilities in medicinal chemistry and SAR development.

These developments, as well as a complete long-term market forecast and discussion of the US, Indian and Chinese drug discovery outsourcing market, are included in Kalorama Information's "Outsourcing in Drug Discovery: The Contract Research Organization (CRO) Market, 4th Edition." The report can be found at:

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