Pharma's desire to make in-house cut backs and speed development has led to contract research organisations (CRO) taking more substantial roles, such as Covance and Icon's deals with Eli Lilly, and Quintiles is continuing this trend.
The deal with AZ, described by Quintiles as a “true alliance”, will see the CRO become the big pharma’s sole provider of clinical pharmacology work. By leveraging its expertise and operational efficiencies Quintiles believes it can support AZ’s goal of shortening delivery times.
Under the terms of the “extensive” deal the CRO will provide a range of activities across the end-to-end study process and the widespread, collaborative nature of the alliance requires a certain approach, according to Ron Wooten, executive vice president, Quintiles corporate development.
Wooten explained that for the “industry-leading alliance” to succeed AZ and Quintiles must create “a climate of trust, transparency, teamwork and joint accountability”.
Consequently Quintiles’ experience of managing such partnerships will be as important as its global pharmacology infrastructure, which should expand into Asia when a new unit is opened in 2010.
Quintiles shares risk with Eisai
A few days before release of news of the AZ deal Quintiles entered into an alliance with Eisai, which will see the CRO develop six potential oncology products in the Japan-based pharma’s pipeline.
Under the terms of the deal Quintiles will partially fund development in exchange for success milestone payment and Wooten believes this “goes beyond the traditional boundaries of the pharma business model”.
He explained that the partnership would “rebalance operational, portfolio and resource risk” and provide Eisai with “a more nimble, modular and variable way of leveraging resources to increase the value of assets”.
Quintiles will conduct Phase II proof-of-concept studies for 11 solid tumour indications and believes that, by drawing on its oncology expertise, it can determine the products’ efficacy in the shortest possible time.
The CRO’s oncology expertise was expanded by the December 2008 acquisition of Targeted Molecular Diagnostics (TMD). By purchasing TMD Quintiles gained expertise in tissue-based testing and in situ hybridisation (FISH) to bolster its presence in the rapidly growing market.