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Contract research sector: news in brief

Published on 16/06/09 at 08:12am

Pharmafocus presents a round-up of developments in the contract research sector, including CBI's acquisition of a peptide specialist, MDS Pharma expanding in Taiwan, new service offerinsg from Velesco and Cogenics and an award for Quintiles.

Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc (CBI) of the US has announced its intention to purchase GL Biochem (Shanghai) , a specialist in peptide chemistry, in a move that it says will give it a leading position in the world's market for peptide supply and research, with an estimated share of around 17% of a $100 million market. Peptides currently account for only a few marketed pharmaceuticals, but are among the fastest-growing drug classes and this has triggered a boom in the outsourcing of peptide reagents and custom peptide synthesis, according to CBI.

MDS Pharma Services is upgrading and expanding its operations in Taiwan as part of the ongoing revamp of its contract research operations which recently saw the firm exit from late-stage clinical development services. The company's Taiwanese operations focus on molecular screening and profiling as well as in vivo safety and efficacy testing. One element of the upgrade will be addition of new robotic high-throughput screening capacity, according to MDS.

Velesco Pharmaceutical Services has increased its capacity to supply clinical trial materials (CTM) with the opening of a manufacturing facility in Michigan, US. The non-sterile unit will offer a range of oral and topical formulations for early-phase clinical trials, including powder-in-capsule, powder-in-bottle, ointments/creams, oral and topical liquids, over-encapsulation for blinded studies and packaging.

Pfizer has selected Quintiles' Data Management Division as the winner of its 2008 Strategic Supplier Excellence Award. The drugmaker awards the prize to suppliers which can demonstrate top performance in quality, service delivery and reliability, innovation and business processes and customer service.

US genomic service company Cogenics said it has started to offer drug metabolising enzyme and transporter (DMET) analysis to its customers, based around a microarray technology developed by Affymetrix and Eli Lilly. The microarray can simultaneously analyse up to 1,936 metabolism markers across 225 genes, including 90% of the markers considered most relevant to drug development, according to Cogenics. The firm says it is the first CRO to offer this service.

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