COMMERCIAL: Five NHS trusts have begun working with the world’s biggest biopharmaceutical company to provide patients for clinical trials.

US-based multinational Quintiles approached organisations that carry out clinical trials in the South West via the University of Exeter, with a view to establishing a Quintiles Prime Site. The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD), Devon Partnership Trust, the Royal Devon & Exeter Foundation Trust, Plymouth Hospitals Trust, South Devon Healthcare Trust and Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust have now been established as the Peninsula Prime Site. A spokesman for PCMD confirmed the organisations would receive payment for participating in trials but was unable to say how much this was likely to be as no trials have yet been set up.

Quintiles’ global head of integrated site services Lindy Jones “There is significant pressure to speed the drug development process in order to develop treatments that enable people to live healthier lives. This alliance will further enhance our ability to recruit patients and investigators who are critical to an efficient and effective drug development process. The spirit of collaboration from the whole team has been exceptional and I am confident that together we will ensure that the South West of England plays an increasing role in global drug development.”

It is the second “prime site” the company has set up in the UK. The first one is based at Queen Mary’s Univeristy and Barts and the London Trust in East London, accounts for 10 per cent of UK patients involved in Quintiles clinical trials.

RD&E joint medical director Dr Vaughan Lewis said: “Involvement in research offers potential advantages to patients as well as maintaining the reputation of the RD&E and the PCMD as stimulating places to work thereby continuing to attract staff of the highest calibre to Exeter.”