Preclinical CRO CiToxLAB has added inhalation testing capacity, citing growing demand from Pharmas and chemicals firms as key driver for the investment.
The contract research organisation (CRO) has opened a new laboratory in Montreal, Canada with 12 dedicated inhalation testing suites – 7 rodent and 5 non-rodent.
The firm is also expanding its facility in Veszprem, Hungary in move that executive president Jean-François Le Bigot told Outsourcing-pharma.com "will double capacity for rodent studies allowing approximately 100 short-term inhalation studies to be conducted each year.
"These studies will be a mix for the chemical, agrochemical and pharmaceutical markets.”
Dr Le Bigot added that the underlying motivation for the expansion was growing demand from the drug and the chemicals industries, with customers' efforts to comply with the European Union’s REACH regulations being a significant factor.
The idea of increasing demand fits with recent analysis by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) - for asthma alone - 74 drugs are in clinical development – which is a considerable amount compared with other indications and likely to be a fraction of the number assessed at the preclinical stage.
However, while drug industry demand is there the testing capacity may not be according to Dr Le Bigot, who set CiToxLAB’s investment in the context of a competitive marketplace.
“Historically, in Europe, our major competitors were Charles River Laboratories (CRL), Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) and Covance, and in North America, our competitors are (HLS), CRL and ITR, although recently the industry capacity for inhalation studies has decreased."
“The strategy at the Hungarian and North American facility has used and will continue to use is to promote our responsiveness combined with good quality, scientific expertise and competitive pricing.”
CiToxLAB will be hiring additional staff at both facilities as a result of the expansion said Le Bigot, continuing the strategy it has employed since acquiring Canadian CRO LAB Research last summer .
“There were 180 full time equivalents (FTE) at CiToxLAB-NA end of April 2011 just after the takeover by CIT and they are now 260 FTE. This reflects the very positive dynamics of the company thanks to the confidence of clients in the new formed CiToxLAB Group."