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Covance’s R&D partnership with Lilly expands

By Gareth Macdonald , 01-Mar-2010
Last updated the 08-Feb-2011 at 10:41 GMT

Covance will provide US drug major Eli Lilly with bioproduct analytical testing services under an expansion of the firms’ year-old R&D collaboration.

The new agreement, announced last Friday, will see the US contract research organisation (CRO) take on responsibility for testing all of Lilly’s developmental biologics at its $15m facility in Greenfield, Indiana.

Covance also said that it has offered employment contracts to around 20 Lilly staff to oversee the new analytical testing work.

Lilly and Covance have collaborated on drug R&D since August 2008 when the CRO bought the 600,000 sq ft Greenfield preclinical toxicology and discovery unit for $50m and taking on 264 additional staff.

The deal also guaranteed the CRO $1.6bn worth of drug development research and preclinical work of a 10 year period.

Covance said that in conducted nearly 4,000 studies for Lilly in 2009, ranging from discovery stage projects to Phase III clinical research and predicted that this number will increase as a result of the new agreement.

CEO Joe Herring said that: "In the first year, we've proven that we can help accelerate drug development timelines and improve efficiencies, enabling Lilly to focus on its core competencies in delivering better patient outcomes over the longer-term.”

Andrew Dahlem, VP of Lilly Research Laboratories (LRL) Operations, agreed and added that: “With the Lilly/Covance model, everyone on the team understands the end goal and their role in it, and because of this, has a greater sense of urgency and personal pride in advancing the molecule to the next stage."

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