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Contract research news in brief

Published on 15/03/10 at 10:47am

Our round-up of developments in the contract research sector includes updates from Kendle, Bilcare, Quintiles, Melbourn Scientific, Lonza, and Medidata Solutions.

US contract research organisation (CRO) Kendle has been granted approval from Indian authorities to proceed with development of a new operations centre near Ahmedabad which is expected to be open for business in April. The company says the expansion will add up to 300 staff to its Indian workforce. The new unit will focus on support services such as clinical data management, medical writing, pharmacovigilance/safety and biostatistics/programming.

Meanwhile, Kendle also says it is launching a new system for biostatistics that will be used across its organisation to increase efficiencies, quality and security in the delivery of clinical trial data. The CRO said the upgraded infrastructure will also make it easier to make the most of its growing operations in India.

Bilcare Global Clinical Supplies is planning to open a second unit in Crickhowell, Wales, to double its capacity in Europe to package, store and distribute clinical supplies in ambient, refrigerated and frozen conditions. The new unit covers 30,000 sq. ft. and is located on the same site as Bilcare's existing facility, acquired as part of the takeover of DHP in 2006.

Quintiles has opened a third office in Africa as part of a continued drive to develop a presence on the continent. The new office in Nairobi, Kenya, will serve the East African region and follows on from the opening of a unit in Ghana last June and a long-established office in South Africa. "Africa will become an important geography for us to reach large populations of patients for a range of therapy areas including oncology and cardiovascular," said Gillian Corken, chief executive of Quintiles Africa.

In other news, Quintiles has also opened its new 30-bed phase I facility at Guy's Hospital in London hiking the total capacity at the UK Drug Research Unit to 108 beds and 385 worldwide. Another phase I unit will open in Hyderabad, India, later this year to boost capacity even further.

Melbourn Scientific of the UK says it has become the first CRO in Europe to invest in a Morphologi G3 automated image analysis system from Malvern Instruments for particle characterisation and foreign particulate contamination. The new unit will allow Melbourn to help its clients apply quality by design (QbD) to formulation, drug and process development work.

Switzerland's Lonza will promote and sell protein-fragment complementation assay (PCA) technology developed by Odyssey Thera as part of its compound profiling services, under the terms of a new agreement between the two companies. PCA is used as a pharmacological screen for small-molecule compounds for activity and side effects.

US eClinical technologies company Medidata Solutions has reported buoyant financial results for 2009, with annual revenues up by 33% to $140 million on the back of "new customer additions, increased product uptake, cross-selling to existing customers, and increased usage". The company expects 2010 to see a similar advance with revenues for the year forecast at $160 to $164 million.

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