Medical laboratory services provider Pathologists Lancet Kenya has rolled out clinical trial services for pharmaceutical firms that are testing new drugs as well biotechnology ones.
Lancet, which recently entered into a joint venture with French multinational Cerba Healthcare International (CHI), says it has lab infrastructure and technical expertise to manage the laboratory component of clinical trials.
The move enhances Kenya’s position as a focal point of clinical trials in the region that are now managed mainly by public research institutions including the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), US Centres for Disease Control (CDC), Kenyatta National Hospital, and Wellcome Trust.
During a recent visit to Kenya, Cerba Healthcare MD Jérôme Thill indicated that the clinical trials component of the firm have been expanded to Kenya.
“We are supporting more than 375 ongoing trials globally, mainly for pharmaceutical drugs for cancer and infectious diseases. We have made available our expertise in the area in Kenya and the region to enhance drug research and development,” he said.
Cerba has been managing clinical trials for pharmas since 1983 through its Netherlands-based subsidiary Barclab while in Africa through South Africa-based Barc-SA, a joint venture with Lancet Laboratories, the parent company of Lancet Kenya.
Lancet Kenya MD and co-owner Ahmed Kalebi said the clinical trials services to be provided include analytical testing and management of clinical samples, long-term storage of biological specimens (bio banking) and clinical trial project management.
“We hope to contribute to the enhanced availability of new treatments from pharmaceutical firms through our services in the region that cover phase one to four of clinical trials,” he said.
A recent report by Dutch-based health advocacy non-profit WEMOS indicated that Kenya is hosting an increasing number of clinical trials for new drugs, largely focused on infectious diseases (HIV, TB and Malaria) but also on non-communicable ones.
Kenya now hosts a number of multinational pharmaceutical companies including Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK), Astra Zeneca, Pfizer, Sanofi Pasteur, Ely Lilly, Novartis, Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim.