Excellent Perspectives for CRO’s in Latin America

Published: 19 Apr 2006

By Federico O’Conor, Research Analyst, Healthcare

Contract Research Organizations (CRO) in Latin America have become key strategic partners to most Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies. This kind of alliance between these two types of organizations will allow the second group of enterprises to concentrate efforts in their core skills, mostly related to manufacturing, marketing and sales. In the continuous race to optimize resources, cost reduction generally results the very first variable to be adjusted. Areas such as Legal Affairs and Logistics have been pioneers when their specific duties have been outsourced into the hands of organizations more specialized in those key activities. Now it seems that time for Healthcare enterprises to outsource tasks like Regulatory Submissions, Patient Recruitment, Project Management and Clinical Monitoring, amongst others in relation with R&D, has arrived in Latin America.

First reports of CRO’s presence in countries such as Argentina and Brazil date from the mid 1990’s. Small local companies like for example "In Trials" in Argentina, started their activities offering the above mentioned services to their first sponsors, generally mid – small size Pharmaceutical Labs without large or proper R&D facilities, aiming to optimize resources during the always difficult and costly period before a new product to enter in a market. Taking into account the attractiveness of this developing region, these companies in many cases have absorbed by larger foreign ones. Such was the case for the above-mentioned company, now "Latintrials" with offices in major Latin American cities. There are still remaining local companies, like for example Siplas, from Colombia and most recently Thywill, from Argentina, founded in 2003. Venezuela has its "Centro Profesional de Investigación Clínica (CPIC)" offering a vast range of these associated services. Mmatiss, originally from Mexico and founded in 1996, expanded its operations towards the whole region, competing with major multinational CRO’s like Quintiles and PPD that have expanded their businesses into Latin America in recent years.

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