Icon partners with Korean CRO group

South Korea has long been touting itself as a go-to destination for clinical trials, and Icon ($ICLR) would seem to agree, partnering with the Korea National Enterprise for Clinical Trials (KoNECT).

Under the deal, Icon will help educate drugmakers and regulatory officials in the country on clinical research, supporting KoNECT's goal of jump-starting South Korea's pharmaceutical industry. The collaboration with Icon follows similar deals with Quintiles, Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) and Pfizer ($PFE).

For Icon, the KoNECT agreement gives the company greater access to South Korea, where it has had a presence since 2005. "Our agreement with KoNECT supports our mutual interest in developing and growing the clinical research industry in South Korea and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the Asia-Pacific region," Icon's Asia-Pacific Vice President Wei Ming Goh said in a statement.

Icon joins a fast-growing list of top CROs looking to South Korea to expand their business. The number of clinical trials in the country jumped 150% from 2006 to 2009, according to CROAsia, and companies like INC Research and Catalent Pharma Solutions have recently announced partnerships that will tap them into the South Korean market. 

- read Icon's statement

Special Report: South Korea -- Top Emerging CRO Markets

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