SGS will open its first bioanalytic laboratory in North America, hoping to capitalise on the growing Californian biotechnology market.
Pharmaceutical analysis firms are experiencing increasing demand, Ferdinand Dabu, marketing director of life science services at SGS, told Outsourcing-pharma.com.
“According to a soon-to-be-released PharmSource Market Study, indicators show the contract testing market is growing at a rate of 7-10%,” said Dabu.
Driving this change, he said, are both cost-cutting measures by pharmaceutical firms, and the escalation of biopharmaceuticals:
“Factors such as more companies striving to reduce costs, their focus on core competencies, and the growth of biologics in the pipeline influence this trend.”
The forthcoming facility in Carson, California will be focused on large molecule bioanalysis, including “PK and PD [Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics] support for preclinical and clinical studies for all clients developing vaccines, or protein/antibody therapeutics,” said Dabu.
“Bioanalysis is key throughout the drug development pipeline assisting in the decision-making process to move a drug candidate along the development program.”
Although the company has never before undertaken bioanalysis in the US, it would draw from its experience in Europe, said the executive VP for life science services.
“This development permits SGS to leverage the bioanalytical testing expertise from the laboratory in Poitiers, France, where SGS has over 700 validated bioanalytics assays to date,” said Anne Hays.
In addition to large molecule analysis the new Carson facility will also be capable of microbiological testing, said the marketing director.
In this field in particular, said Dabu, “proximity [to customers] is key,” as some microbiological samples need to be processed within a 24-hour timeframe.
He pointed to Carson’s location near Los Angeles International Airport, and its short distance from San Diego and San Francisco, both biotechnology hubs, as behind the choice of the new site.
The company hopes to establish a West Coast presence to address the market, added Jeff McDonald, Chief Operating Officer.
The forthcoming facility will comprise 6,000 square feet of lab space and 2,000 square feet for offices, conference rooms, and client records.
It is expected to open in autumn 2014 and employ a staff of seven scientists.