Speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma, Eddie Caffrey, senior vice president (VP), global phase I, Quintiles, explained that the rise in biologics and therapeutics focused on targets only found in those with a disease have seen pharma, and some regulatory agencies, request trials in patients.
This shift in pharma’s pipeline played a role in Quintiles expanding and formalising its relationship with Guy’s and St Thomas’. Quintiles has a long relationship with the hospital, using its expertise on occasions, and it will now have a facility on the 14th floor of Guy’s in London, UK.
Caffrey added that there is a “huge interest” in clinical research at the hospital fuelled by a “real desire” to cut the time it takes for molecules to get to patients, which fits with Quintiles goals.
To further this target Quintiles is setting up near to Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London’s good manufacturing practice (GMP) pharmacy and the Biomedical Research Centre’s (BRC) new Faculty of Translational Medicine, which is due to launch on December 2.
Robert Lechler, VP Health, King’s College London and director of King’s Health Partners, said the goal is to “create a powerful ‘experimental medicine’ hub” that can “harness the expertise of our world class scientists and clinicians to drive new discoveries in medicine and clinical treatment”.
It is hoped that this concentration of infrastructure and expertise will drive forward the translation of science onto the wards, from ‘bench to bedside’, to help shorten the time it takes molecules to reach patients.
Quintiles will use the facility to conduct trials in healthy volunteers and patients. It is due to be completed in early 2010 and builds on Quintiles global Phase I capacity. On a local level the site expands on Quintiles’ existing facilities in Newcomen Street, London, UK.
The facility will cover all therapeutic areas but the nature of the products pharma wants to trial in patients means drugs for certain targets, such as respiratory diseases and arthritis, may be tested more frequently at the site, according to Caffrey.
Translational medicine in the UK
In June Icon entered into a similar collaboration between industry, academia and the National Health Service (NHS) to establish a purpose built translational medicine facility in Manchester, UK.
Caffrey believes the two deals indicate that the NHS is open to this sort of relationship and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) leant its support to the Icon deal, saying it is the type of collaboration it is seeking to encourage.