Quintiles Transnational is expanding its presence in Latin America by purchasing a contract research organization based in Panama.

Quintiles’ subsidiary for Latin America is paying an undisclosed sum for Bio-Trials. The company has offices in Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru. Bio-Trials offers clinical monitoring, site coordination, study management and other services.

"The acquisition of Bio-Trials gives Quintiles an experienced, well-established team as well as access to an experienced network of independent investigators in the increasingly important Central American region," Jeff Thomis, president of Global Clinical Development Services for Quintiles, said in a statement.

"Our customers are increasingly including Central America as part of their global drug development program. The Bio-Trials team will be a welcome addition to our Latin America group," Thomis added.

The acquisition is the latest expansion move over a busy year for Quintiles. In addition to announcing plans to build a new headquarters and adding 1,000 jobs in RTP, the CRO recently expanded operations in Scotland and India as well as the state of Georgia. Quintiles also is expanding its consulting services organization.

Bio-Trials has directed some 30 clinical trials in 10 countries and has worked with numerous pharmaceutical firms as well as other CROs.

Quintiles Latin America, a 12-year-old subsidiary, is based in Argentina. With the acquisition, it will have approximately 600 employees in six countries.