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Quintiles' PGx Focus Continues with London Genetics Personalized Medicine Alliance

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By Turna Ray

Announcing its third
personalized medicine pact this month, biopharmaceutical services provider Quintiles has jumped head-first into the genomically guided drug development space.

This week, Quintiles announced it would collaborate with pharmacogenetics firm London Genetics to provide personalized medicine services to drug developers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal follows Quintiles' collaboration with Dako, inked earlier this month with the aim of developing personalized medicine products. The first project under that deal will focus on an oncology drug in AstraZeneca's pipeline (PGx Reporter 11/03/10).

Also, this month, Quintiles formed a partnership with Biomoda, an Albuquerque, NM-based cancer diagnostics firm, to refine the use of Biomoda's cytology-based screening technology to detect early-stage lung cancer. This collaboration also falls in line with Quintiles' broader strategy to enter the personalized medicine space, but that alliance is not strictly PGx-focused.

"Biopharmaceutical companies are under relentless pressure to replenish their product pipelines and deliver safer, more effective medicines to patients in need," said Thomas Wollman, senior VP at Quintiles Global Central Laboratories. "Through our alliance with London Genetics, we have world-class expertise to help early adopters of personalized medicine use genomic technologies to improve drug discovery and development, and a networked infrastructure to support those efforts virtually anywhere in the world."

Wollman told PGx Reporter that under the latest alliance, London Genetics will provide biopharmaceutical firms advice on drug development using pharmacogenetics strategies. Meanwhile, Quintiles will help drug companies establish the necessary infrastructure for developing biomarkers.

As a biopharmaceutical services provider, Quintiles can provide pharma companies with guidance on drug development strategy, regulation, commercialization, and reimbursement. Additionally, Quintiles also develops its own genomic tests that gauge cancer cell growth and mutations.

The firm performs these assays at labs in the US, Scotland, and China. Quintiles also operates a CAP-accredited central laboratory network, with facilities in the US, Europe, South Africa, India, China, Singapore, and Japan, as well as affiliate laboratories in Argentina and Brazil.

Complementing these assets, London Genetics has existing collaborations with centers of excellence in genetics research, which enable the firm to provide pharmacogenetic services to the biopharmaceutical industry.

The company boasts that it has access to a network of more than 3,000 investigators. As such, London Genetics can link drug firms with academics and clinicians who can help them apply genetic strategies that might reduce attrition in drug trials and guide treatment to those most likely to benefit. Investigators who are in London Genetics' investigator network have expertise in a range of disease areas, including cardiovascular, central nervous system, inflammation, virology, and oncology.

Furthermore, London Genetics can provide samples for genetic studies and patient cohorts for biomarker discovery trials. The company also offers services geared toward Phase III planning using statistical genetics, bioinformatics solutions, and lab services, including sample analysis using genotyping, sequencing, proteomics, transcriptomics, and epigenetics strategies.

According to London Genetics CEO Dominique Kleyn, since the company's formation in 2007, it has worked with drug and diagnostics firms of all sizes, and has provided business support to over 50 companies.

The management, clinical trial design, and data analysis services centered around pharmacogenetics and biomarker validation that London Genetics provides to pharma companies "are highly complementary to the in-house expertise of Quintiles, its networked global delivery infrastructure, and its goal of helping early adopters of personalized medicines to use genomic technologies in their clinical development programs," Kleyn told PGx Reporter this week.

For Quintiles, it seems that these early PGx partnerships with London Genetics and Dako are just the beginning of a long-term strategy to grow its presence in the personalized medicine space. The company is "open to new partnerships that support biopharma in advancing personalized medicine," Wollman said, but did not elaborate on any new deals that might be in the works. .

Headquartered in Research Triangle Park, NC, Quintiles has inked its last two PGx pacts with European-based firms. However, since Quintiles is a multinational company, employing 20,000 people in 60 countries, these collaborations have the capability to service drug companies on a global scale. "While we do have a strong focus on the European market, [the] alliance [with London Genetics] will support our global customers and is not specific to the European market," Wollman said.


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