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Contract research news in brief

Published on 08/12/09 at 09:40am

Our round-up of developments in the contract research sector includes a fundraising for Ecron Acunova, trial registrations in India a partnership between i3 and Acurian and technology updates for WuXi and PPD.

India has implemented legislation that will make it mandatory for organisations wishing to carry out clinical trials on humans to register them with the Indian Council of Medical Research. Previously registering with the ICMR's Clinical Trial Registry of India database was only voluntary. The registry has been running since 2005 and covers all studies, from phase I to IV.

Indian CRO Ecron Acunova has raised additional funds via a financing with investment firm OrbiMed Advisors that will spearhead the next phase of growth at the firm, including a possible acquisition in the US. The value of the financing has not been disclosed but is estimated to be in the $4-10 million range, according to a Pharmabiz report. As part of the deal, Dr Sunny Sharma, senior managing director of OrbiMed Advisors India, has joined the board of directors Ecron's parent company Manipal Acunova.

Pharmaceutical outsourcing and informatics company i3 has entered into an agreement with patient recruitment specialist Acurian to help study sponsors recruit investigators for clinical trials. Acurian's patient database will be complemented by i3's statistical software designed to identify trial sites with access to target patient populations. The i3 package identifies patients from an analysis of private healthcare insurance claims.

US contract research organisation PPD says has introduced a centralised computing platform - referred to as the biostatistics technology infrastructure (BTI) - to help it provide secure, accurate and timely data analysis to its clients. The virtual server environment allows PPD to deploy global teams of biostatisticians and programmers to projects on a single platform, sharing the same data. The system has been rolled out at two sites in the US plus the firm's European headquarters in Cambridge, UK.

WuXi PharmaTech has beefed up its ability to offer high-throughput and secondary screening services with the installation of a Labcyte POD (plates on demand) 810 plate assembler equipped with an Echo 555 acoustic liquid handler. "Acoustic liquid handling is clearly the method of choice in drug discovery," said Dr Qiang Lu, the company's vice president of discovery biology. The automated system reduces the amount of reagent used in assays and does away with the need to use disposable plastic tips.

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