July 11 2013 | By Márcio Barra
Blueclinical is set to open tomorrow a Phase I clinical trial Unit at Hospital da Prelada, in Oporto. It is “the first in Portugal certified to perform clinical trial testing on human beings”, said Luís Almeida to Agência Lusa.
“While there are many companies that are currently investigating new medicines, there was no qualified entity in Portugal to conduct clinical trials for those medicines in healthy volunteers or in selected populations of patients”, explained Blueclinical’s co-founder and executive director.
The total investment made is not disclosed by Luís Almeida, who confirmed the creation of 26 jobs with the opening of Blueclinical’s Phase I unit. This unit currently has 29 hospital beds available to receive patients and conduct clinical trials for both Portuguese and foreign companies.
Blueclinical’s Phase I unit appears at a time where clinical research is recognized as a strategic interest for the country. The rate of clinical trials per million inhabitants in Portugal is among the lowest in Western Europe, with Phase 3 and 4 trials making up 80% of all trials. This leaves phase 1 trials with very little representation. with only 8 approved over the last 4 years. For more on that, read my article on PWC’s report on the clinical trial activity in Portugal.
The space is mainly targeted to Portuguese companies, mostly small and medium-sized ones that need to ensure that proper first in man clinical trials are made to move along the development of their projects.
Blueclinical is a partner company of Bluepharma, headquartered in Coimbra. It is comprised of three divisions: Blueclinical R & D, to support start-up companies in developing their projects; the aforementioned Blueclinical Phase I unit; and Blueclinical SMO, to help Portuguese hospitals manage their clinical research activities.
Disclaimer: Dr. Luís Almeida is the current director of my Master’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Medicine