Cecilia Moreno
Director of Clinical Management
Jose Viramontes Senior Director, Remote Site Management of PPD
José Viramontes
Senior Director, Remote Site Management
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Emerging Opportunities to Boost Mexico As a Research Hub

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 11/20/2020 - 14:13

Q: How would you describe PPD’s recent growth in Mexico?

CM: PPD is a key player in Mexico’s pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. Over the past three years, employment at PPD’s operations in Mexico has grown around 75 percent in headcount, with about a third of that increase occurring between 2019 and 2020.

JV: Five years ago, PPD started to offer remote support to most of our global projects, including those in Mexico. An international hub was established in our country to support clinical research conducted in different parts of the world, and so, our growth is no longer limited to projects being run in the country.

PPD has been working on centralization and remote support through technology for years and Mexico has great operational advantages that are attractive for the company, aside from its geographic advantages, mainly its time zone and proximity to the US.

Q: Aside from epidemiological diseases, what other studies is PPD working on in Mexico?

CM: As a global provider of clinical development and laboratory services, we are focused on operational excellence. Our mission is to help our customers deliver life-changing therapies and our strategy is to bend the cost and time curve of drug development and optimize value. Our patients are always at the heart of our work and purpose, which is to improve health. This forms the foundation of our commitment to our customers and patients around the world and is what drives us to continually reimagine and reformulate the future of pharmaceutical product development.

Through ongoing innovation, we make it more efficient for patients and physicians to participate in clinical trials. We deploy an exceptional span and quality of solutions to demonstrate the effectiveness, safety and value of promising drugs. Mexico plays an important role by working in different therapeutic areas that include not only Mexican but global medical needs. Specifically, we have an active participation in: vaccines, rare diseases and other therapeutic areas for international studies.

JV: Latin America has been positioning itself in the field of infectious diseases and vaccines and this means a great opportunity to distribute such treatments once they are fully ready to be used.

Q: How can Mexico boost its position as a global research hub?

CM: We need to continue working in a collaborative approach with: Authorities, Study Sites, Ethics Committees and sponsors to promote Mexico based on the positive experience of conducting clinical research in the country, quality compliance according to national and international standards, and the many professional clinical research experts in the country.

JV: The government, academy and industry (CROs and pharmaceutical companies) can work collaborative to advance the efforts that began years ago, to further enhance clinical research and expand product availability in the market. PPD and its clients support Mexican Associations like AMIIF and ACROM in their desire to resume those positive initiatives. We need to continue developing research centers of excellence and clinical research professionals at all levels. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the importance of clinical research generating awareness among the general population and regulatory authorities. We are hopeful this renewed wave of interest transcends the epidemic and proves to further extend the value of the clinical research industry.

CM: The pandemic has also created an opportunity for more professionalization in the sector, as we continue to transition to more digital opportunities, which have enabled us to connect with professionals from different parts of the world to continue learning and sharing information. Technology has enabled many research centers to join educational events that had not been possible in the past.

Q: How will COFEPRIS’ attachment to the Deputy Ministry of Prevention and Health Promotion impact clinical research?

CM: It is too soon to foresee the impact of this decision. However, we are confident the outcomes will bring greater significance and value to the approval processes. I see this as positive because the Deputy Minister is knowledgeable about research. The automation of some processes has already been announced, such as dossiers and submission of clinical studies, which is a necessary step and might enhance productivity.

The importance of timely approvals has also been evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic given the relevance of obtaining a vaccine and the importance of such a complex study.

JV: The new Deputy at COFEPRIS is a recognized expert on clinical research. Despite the political reasons behind this change, as far as we have seen, we hope it will be very positive for clinical studies.

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted PPD’s work globally and in Mexico?

CM: We have been able to participate in a considerable amount of COVID-19 research projects related to vaccines and treatments. This has been very positive because it ensures future access to such developments when they have completed the development process. Mexico has a great number of patients suffering from COVID-19, which is why it was important for us to introduce different treatment options through our research capacities. While PPD has been a leader in innovation, the pandemic pushed forward many health initiatives like home-care treatment, telemedicine and direct-to-patient studies.

JV: PPD is a highly innovative company. Our global initiatives have included the digitalization of our practices on clinical research and using technology to deliver a more efficient performance. In this sense, PPD is fully prepared worldwide to adapt to the new normal that is now more clearly defined, breaking paradigms, improving traditional processes, and using new and more efficient technology.


PPD is a leading global contract research organization that provides comprehensive and, integrated drug development, as well as laboratory and life-cycle management services. Their Its customers include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical devices, academic and government organizations

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst