Merck joins organization to strengthen clinical trials i Denmark

German pharmaceutical group Merck is the latest company among several to join the Danish Trial Nation organization, which aims to increase the number of clinical trials conducted in Denmark.

Photo: Merck / PR

Like several other pharmaceutical companies' Danish business units, Germany's Merck sees potential in the Danish Trial Nation initiative and becomes a member.

Trial Nation is a public-private partnership, and industry partners are therefore a key component in the organization's work to increase the number of clinical trials carried out in Denmark. That work has gone so well in the past few years that Merck now sees a strong potential in becoming a partner.

"Denmark has many attractive features that make it a suitable place for conducting clinical trials; a strong health care system and good research. But at the same time, a company like ours must continually explore new collaborations and research partnerships. That all contributes to our decision to become a member of Trial Nation," explains Enrique Álvarez, managing director and general manager of Merck Denmark, in an interview with MedWatch.

At Trial Nation, CEO Marianne Pilgaard is very pleased that the initiative has managed to attract yet another major international pharmaceutical company as a partner. She calls the addition of Merck "a very important" event that will benefit Danish patients.

Pleased about private-public partnership

At present, the partnership works particularly well for Merck as the company has an ambition to increase the amount of clinical research it conducts in Denmark over the coming years. Therefore, the company's medical director, Louise Bek, is also pleased with the opportunity to partner with Trial Nation.

"It may sound a bit like a cliché by now, but some of what's attractive about Trial Nation is this one-stop-shop mentality, which streamlines the process on several parameters in terms of dialog with clinical sites, contact to strong researchers, regulatory advising and so on," explains Bek.

Additionally, Bek sees Trial Nation's status as a public-private partnership as something very positive. She thinks this is one of the main reasons as to why the organization and its predecessors NEXT and Én Indgang ('One point of entry' in Danish) have managed to deliver on the ambition to increase the number of clinical trials carried out in Denmark in recent years. That is, the status ensures that both the political and public system prioritizes the development.

"It's very positive that it is categorized as a public-private partnership because it shows that there is political awareness on conducting clinical research in not just Denmark but the entire Nordic region, and how significant an impact it can have on the development of new pharmaceuticals. We've seen several examples that it works, because when you have the political attention, conditions for things such as financing and the allocation of other resources is also better," she says.

Long-term partnerships

Most of the industry partners from NEXT, and now Trial Nation, have been part of the initiative for several years. Mainly because a partnership is a larger strategic decision and not just a question of needing help with a single clinical trial.

Bek and Álvarez both keep their cards close to the chest when it comes to revealing the more precise objectives of how many additional trials Merck hopes to obtain through its partnership with Trial Nation.

"Although we of course aim to initiate more clinical trials when we enter a partnership with Trial Nation, it is also largely about establishing a good and close collaboration with important Danish players. That's a milestone in itself, because as a very old company we are used to thinking long-term," says Álvarez.

Merck joined as an official partner of Trial Nation in June.

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