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Contract research sector: news in brief

Published on 13/07/09 at 10:11am

Pharmafocus presents a round-up of developments in the contract research sector, including Icon's acquisition of biomarker specialist Veeda, layoffs at PPD and a takeover at Life Sciences Research.

Irish contract research organisation (CRO) Icon has acquired Oxford, UK-based Veeda Laboratories, a specialist provider of biomarker laboratory services, in a move that boosts its bioanalytical and immunoassay capabilities. Veeda Laboratories is a subsidiary of Veeda Clinical Research Group. Icon has been steadily building its capacity in bioanalytical services, buying US-based Prevalere Life Sciences in November 2008.

PPD is making around 270 staff redundant at its headquarters in Wilmington, North Carolina, and other locations around the US to cut costs as it copes with lessened demand for its services. The layoffs only affect the firm's operations in North America. Other offices around the world have escaped the axe because of a healthier backlog of contracts. PPD employs more than 10,500 people worldwide.

Life Sciences Research is to be taken into private hands via an acquisition by Lion Holdings, a company set up by chairman and chief executive Andrew Baker. The product development services specialist has been under financial pressure in recent months, in common with many of its peers in the CRO sector, with revenues down by a quarter to $48 million in the first quarter of this year.

eClinical specialist Perceptive Informatics has teamed up with fellow US firm Biospective to provide medical imaging services for clinical trials. Perceptive will make use of Biospective's process and analysis software to support independent reviews of imaging data from studies, with a particular emphasis on central nervous system and cancer trials. Perceptive has been developing an imaging technique to detect brain atrophy in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Japanese company EPS has become the first CRO in Asia to reach RAVE Accredited Plus, the most advanced category for users of the Rave electronic data capture (EDC) system developed by Medidata. The higher rating means that EPS will be able to expand the suite of RAVE services it can offer customers.

QPS, a preclinical and clinical research services business based in the US, has forged an alliance with Taiwan's Development Centre for Biotechnology to bolster its capabilities. The new agreement expands QPS' activities into chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) services, in vitro/in vivo toxicology and pharmacology.

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