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Quotient buys Scottish clinical unit from Charles River

Published on 26/05/09 at 12:04pm

Contract research organisation Quotient Bioresearch has acquired a facility from Charles River Laboratories that will boost its capabilities in the area of early-stage clinical testing.

The facility in Edinburgh, Scotland, will be combined with UK company Pharmaceutical Profiles - another recent acquisition by Quotient, into a new strategic business unit called Quotient Clinical.

Quotient has a history of expanding by acquisition, completing six deals since it was formed in early 2007. The latest acquisition brings a clinical unit specialising in first-in-human (FIH) and Phase I studies that was formerly operated by Inveresk Clinical Research and purchased by Charles River in 2004.

Charles River bought Inveresk as part of a push to add clinical testing to its traditional focus on preclinical services, but this was a short-lived endeavour. The company sold its late-stage (phase II to IV) clinical services business to Kendle in 2006, and the divestment of the Edinburgh unit marks its exit from the clinical research sector.

The US CRO said earlier this month that it booked an operating loss from the Scottish facility in the first quarter of 2009.

The Edinburgh unit is "an industry leader" in FIH studies, said Quotient, and importantly has been certified by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to carry out studies on both small-molecule and biologic drugs.

The facility adds phase I to IIa clinical expertise that complements the strengths of Pharmaceutical Profiles' in areas such as compound optimisation services and 14C labelling studies, a technology which is increasingly being used to study ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion) of drug candidates.

This form of radiolabelling is also used in phase 0 microdosing studies, in which patients are given doses of a drug candidate that are too low to have therapeutic activity, but are high enough to provide valuable data on pharmacokinetics and other measures.

Quotient Clinical is headed by Mark Egerton, who was formerly the chief executive of Pharmaceutical Profiles.

Egerton said that the combination of the Edinburgh unit and Pharmaceutical Profiles' services, along with other elements of the Quotient group allows it to "integrate flexible drug product manufacture into clinical trials [and] will enable us to deliver significant benefits to our customers".

Quotient Clinical employs 160 people across its two facilities in Edinburgh and Nottingham, while the Quotient group as a whole now has around 500 staff.

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