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New Chinese CRO and alliance to finance diabetes research for globally expanding Quintiles

By Natalie Morrison , 14-Dec-2011
Last updated the 14-Dec-2011 at 12:47 GMT

Quintiles hopes to build up its China-based study portfolio through its new contract research organisation (CRO) Kun Tuo.

The US-based firm yesterday launched the company which will provide services including clinical trial management, regulatory submission preparation, biostatistics and data management.

However Quintiles – which says it has set its sights on providing services locally to the Chinese biopharma industry, as well as to multinational companies looking to work within China – seems to be playing a long-term game for developments in the region.

Zhen Ling, general manager of Quintiles Greater China, told Outsourcing-Pharma: “Quintiles acknowledges a growing demand for bespoke solutions to meet unique needs of Chinese biopharma companies, and Kun Tuo was built specifically to address this demand.

“Kun Tuo is looking to partner China local pharma companies as they work towards China registration of drugs today, but utilize the research later if they choose to pursue international registration in the future.”

Ling added that the new arm of the business will also work with pharmas globally, using Quintiles’ existing resources in vaccines, late phase studies, medical devices and diagnostics.

Global expansion

The latest move is part of what the firm says is an aggressive growth plan for China.

Ling also told us that Quintiles – which hopes to double its total staff in 2012 – is now exploring new opportunities in other markets, and that it will continue to explore expansions such as recent lab additions in Indonesia and South Africa.

“Quintiles is always looking for opportunities to strengthen our expertise & expand our capabilities in sectors that most matter to our customers,” he said. “We’ll continue to investigate both organic and acquisition opportunities.”

Intarcia alliance

One such new opportunity came in the form of Intarcia, who this week struck up an alliance with Quintiles for its diabetes Type 2 therapy, ITCA 650 DUROS for the continuous subcutaneous delivery of exenatide.

Under the deal, Quintiles is set to become the financers for the clinical development of the therapy, the first once-yearly injection-free treatment for the condition.

The firm says the agreement “rewrites the rule book” for backing studies on innovative therapies.

Chip Gillooly, VP of corporate development at Quintiles, told Outsourcing-Pharma: “This alliance, which is one of the larger operational risk partnerships in Quintiles’ history, rewrites the rule book on crafting solutions for biotechs that have novel investigative therapies but lack resources to optimize development.

“Over the past 12 months we brought together the best and brightest from all over Quintiles to deliver a compelling solution to Intarcia."

He said that for Intarcia, the deal is the first in a two-step process, with the California-based researchers looking to sign a global pharma partner with diabetes expertise in the coming months.

“Thus each party will bring its core competency to this unique three-way alliance,” he added.

“Quintiles’ role here is to provide strategic drug development resources and help create a plan that can minimize wasteful oversight and aggressively attack study timelines. This concept of minimizing study delays and unnecessary oversight is core to the partnership.”

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