Our Bureaus

Mumbai/Chennai, Jan. 24

PFIZER Global Research and Development (PGRD) and IT service provider Cognizant Technology Solutions have inked a multi-year deal for business process outsourcing solutions in clinical data management and biometrics.

The deal between PGRD's Indian affiliate and Chennai-based Cognizant allows Pfizer to leverage the IT services pool, capturing the "cost-productivity" advantage that India offers, a Pfizer communiqué issued here today said.

Pfizer India Biometrics Division has already been providing data capture, data management, statistics and programming services for its parent's Phase I, II, III global trials for seven years. Cognizant will be supplementing these efforts.

However, while Pfizer's biometrics division provides services to the company's global research and development locations, Cognizant's partnership will support the development operations group of PGRD in India, Pfizer officials said.

On the cost benefit that Pfizer gets out of the deal, officials added: "This relationship is not about cost-benefits. The partnership with Cognizant gives us the flexibility to expand and scale up our requirements without adding permanent headcount."

"Cognizant has extensive experience in life sciences including clinical trial study set-up and validation and data management. (These are) ... compliant with international standards of good clinical practices (GCP) as defined by the FDA," said Mr Hocine SidiSaid, Country Manager, Pfizer India, in a note.

The work for Pfizer would be done out of a new Cognizant facility in Mumbai.

Initially, the job would be done out of Pfizer premises and subsequently moved to Cognizant's new facility in Mumbai. This would mean that, in about six months' time, the Mumbai location would become Cognizant's sixth across India.

According to a spokesperson for Cognizant, the outfit would have about 90 people initially.

The company added that the high-end work would require employees with different skills and hence, "the bulk of the profiles hired are bachelors and masters in pharmacy, statistics and analytics."

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 25, 2005)
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