Consortium to Bring Massachusetts-Style Clinical Research to Italy
The newly-formed Clinical Research Consortium of Massachusetts has signed an agreement with the government of the Lombardy region in northern Italy to help make the area more attractive to drug companies seeking to do clinical research.
Today, Italy only has a small sliver, about two per cent, of the multibillion-dollar European market for clinical trials. But according to Bonnie Brescia, founding principal of Newton, MA-based patient recruiting service BBK Worldwide, one of the consortium’s members, the group believes that Lombardy—already home to about half of Italy’s biotech companies—can become a major player in European clinical research.
The consortium also includes Tufts Medical Center’s Institute for Clinical Research & Health Policy Studies, Waltham, MA-based clinical trials management company Phase Forward (NASDAQ: PFWD), and IT consulting firm Court Square Group.
The Lombardy program could benefit the Massachusetts life sciences industry by making it easier and faster for New England drug companies to do certain clinical trials, says Brescia. “In some cases it is very hard to do trials in the United States, as our population tend to move around so much. It will be very helpful to have access to a region like Lombardy with a very stable population and long clinical records.”
Adds Brescia, “There is a lot of work to be done, but the local government is prepared to go forward with this big program and really invest in making the region a center of excellence not only in Italy but in Europe. They are prepared to tackle it on many levels.”
The consortium is also in talks with both government and private organizations about similar projects in other countries in Europe and Latin America.