Kenya Overview

  • Kenya is strategically located on the eastern coast of Africa along the equator line, with a population of 47 million people.
  • Demographically the population is aged (43%) 0-14, (54%) 15-64 and 2.7% (> 65).
  • Has transport connections to the neighboring countries of Ethiopia, Uganda & Tanzania.
  • 48 Airlines are registered and operating in Kenya, with several flights across the country ensuring easy accessibility.
  • English is the official language and education levels compete with the West.
  • Kenya has become an important hub of international business, trade and diplomacy with a minimum of 9 large pharma companies operating in the country.
  • The beacon of peace throughout the region makes this an attractive destination for multinational investors.
  • The UN Headquarter in Africa is located in Nairobi and several UN Agencies having sizable presence in Kenya like UNEP, UNICEF & WFP.
  • Kenya is a technology hub for Africa, and the home of M-pesa.

Branches in Kenya

Moi University

  • Established in 2004, MUCRC is located at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret and is housed within the largest Oncology Centre in Kenya; namely the Chandaria Cancer Centre.
  • MUCRC has a catchment area of 24 million people.
  • They have several satellite centers assisting in patient recruitment. They also share the same building with the Ampath Laboratory, which is equipped with state of the art equipment and accreditation.
  • The Centre has conducted phase I to phase IV trials in vaccines and drugs – HIV/AIDS, Meningitis, Asthma, Oncology and TB.
  • MUCRC have successfully conducted 12 studies with an average retention rate above 98%.

Kenya Aids Vaccine Initiative

  • Was established in 1998 as a research unit under the Medical School of the University of Nairobi, to conduct basic research in epidemiology of HIV and to conduct HIV/AIDS vaccine trials.
  • KAVI-ICR KNH is located within the Kenyatta National Hospital, which is the largest referral hospital in East and Central Africa with 2000 beds capacity.
  • Over the years, the KNH site has grown and now not only manages vaccine trials but has successfully conducted several clinical drug trial studies.
  • KAVI has a fully equipped laboratory and well trained clinical trial staff.
  • Due to its proximity and good working relations, KAVI has access to all specialists working at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

Kenya Aids Vaccine Initiative

  • The KAVI-ICR KHC was established in 1998 as a research unit under the Medical School of the University of Nairobi, to conduct basic research in epidemiology of HIV and execute HIV/AIDS vaccine trials.
  • The KAVI-ICR KHC is located within the Kangemi Health Center, in Nairobi
  • Over the years, KAVI KHC has grown and not only manages vaccine trials but has conducted several clinical drug trials.
  • KAVI-ICR KHC has its own laboratory, as well access to a fully equipped laboratory KNH, and well trained clinical trial staff.
  • Due to its proximity and good working relations, KAVI has access to all specialists working at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

Kenya Medical Research Institute

  • Established in 2000, KEMRI-CRC Kisumu have conducted numerous clinical trials in HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, asthma, meningitis, etc.
  • This site has a well-equipped laboratory and well-trained staff in clinical trials.
  • The Kisumu laboratory have the capabilities to manage LDMS, Serology and STI, Hematology, Biochem sample processing, sample reception and storage and HIV resistance genotyping.
  • Their laboratory is ISO 15189 certified.
  • WHO certified.

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI-CRDR) Nairobi

  • The KEMRI-CRDR Nairobi site was established in September 2015.
  • The site was located at Chandaria Health Centre in Dagoreti Market, Nairobi County; this is a tier 2 government facility which partnered with KEMRI-CRDR to establish a clinical research annex under the leadership of Dr Videlis Nduba.
  • The site started off with about 20 staff in 8 departments.
  • The first study was a TB clinical trial. It progressed into conducting Sickle Cell Disease clinical trials.
  • KEMRI-CRDR relocated to a larger premises at KEMRI-CRDR Clinical Research Annex in March 2019; this is as result of growth and need to expand.

Karen Hospital

  • The Karen Hospital was established in 2006, having state of the art amenities, and is regarded as the leading Cardiovascular hospital in the region.
  • It has the best modern MRI machine within Kenya, and the hospital’s amenities/facilities include a catherization laboratory, theatre, a well staffed ICU, and 102 bed capacity.
  • The CTC was established to specifically carry out clinical trials in the cardiovascular area.
  • The hospital has 9 campuses enhancing their recruitment reach.
  • The Karen Hospital Clinical Trial Centre have ample capacity to conduct more CVD studies.

Fountain Projects and Research Office (FOPRO)

  • Is a division of Fountain Health Care (FHC) Limited, FOPRO was established in March 2019.
  • FOPRO houses a clinical research centre that designs and conducts internationally benchmarked observational and interventional studies.
  • Staffed by a group of investigators who are internationally renowned in their fields of specialization.
  • FOPRO is located at the Fountain Health Care Hospital.
  • They deliver a range of research programmes and consultancies in the following areas:
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Non-communicable diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, cancer, chronic lung diseases, mental health, injuries and  trauma, and gender-based violence)
  • Eye and dental health, Maternal, new-born, and child health (MNCH).
  • Public health (epidemiology and biostatistics, operational research, implementation science research, health economics, international health, and health services management).
  • Surgical conditions, population health and oncology.

Kenyan Clinical Trial Market


Clinical Trials have been conducted in Kenya for a long time, mostly sponsored by donors.

What Kenya has to offer…
  • Accelerated start-up timelines
    – Ethics Committee: 6 – 8 weeks
    – Pharmacy & Poisons Board: 6 – 8 weeks
  • Operational Compliance
    (Support from MERC Global)
  • Recruitment – Quick and High
    (CABs and community relationships and trust)
  • Quality Data
  • Analytics: Real Time Learning (RTL) & quick implementation of findings (+ & -)
  • Centralised Feasibility, Budget & Regulatory
List of Companies with either a local presence or conduct Clinical Trials in Kenya

1.GSK: Conducts phase II and III in the region. (Malaria, Helminths and asthma)

2.Astra Zeneca (CVD, Infectious Diseases, Respiratory, Gastrointestinal & Oncology) Their first clinical trial in Kenya was completed in 1997.


4.Sanofi Pasteur: The vaccine group of Sanofi Aventis. Mainly vaccine clinical trials.

1.Ely Lily (No clinical trials, just marketing and sales activities)



4.Boehringer Ingelheim