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Contract research news in brief

Published on 20/12/10 at 12:25pm

Our round-up of recent development in the contract research sector includes updates from Charles River, CIT/Biomodels, INC Research, PPD and Dedicated Phase I.

Charles River Laboratories is making another concerted effort to cut costs in the face of investors asking for the company to be put up for sale. The laboratory giant has cut around 600 staff is planning to close some underperforming business units, including preclinical services operations in the US, China and Canada, and a phase I clinical trials unit in the US. Earlier this year CRL failed to consummate a merger agreement with Chinese CRO Wuxi PharmaTech.

French contract research organisation CIT has forged an alliance with US counterpart Biomodels in a bid to expand each firm's preclinical drug development service portfolio. The two partners will bring together their skills in "providing efficacy models combined with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) toxicology know-how", they said in a statement. One focus of the collaboration will be the provision of high-content testing approaches. Financial details were not disclosed.

US firm INC Research is planning to move its corporate headquarters into larger offices in Raleigh, North Carolina, to help cater for "anticipated business growth". The new, 120,000 sq.ft. offices will include an internal training and certification unit focusing on project management and therapeutic clinical research skills. The CRO is due to be acquired by private equity groups Avista Capital Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in a $600 million deal scheduled to complete before the end of this year.

Over the next three years, PPD will invest around $28 million and add 190 jobs at its site in Henrico County, Virginia, which provides R&D and clinical trial services for drug development. The CRO, which employs around 11,000 people worldwide, has said the new unit will qualify for around $650,000 in state subsidies.

Dedicated Phase I (DPI) has set up a new unit in Phoenix, Arizona, to carry out first-in-human studies as part of a broader agreement with physician network Integrated Medical Services (IMS), according to The new unit will operate alongside the CRO's existing 70-bed clinical research facility in Phoenix.

Phil Taylor

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