Preclinical CRO Cyprotex has set up a laboratory at a former AstraZenca R&D facility that ceased drug development operations earlier this year .
The discovery arm of the UK contract research organisation (CRO) unveiled the new lab today and explained that the decision to establish cell culture production, radiochemical handling capabilities and office space at the site in Alderley Park, Cheshire was motivated by an increase in client demand.
Cyprotex told Outsourcing-pharma.com: “We are observing an increase in demand across a range of offerings” from customers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, argichemical and cosmetics industries.
The firm added that: “We will be expanding our general screening capabilities especially in the field of drug transporters” and went on to say that the new lab will employ a six strong team of scientists.
Cyprotex also reported a 22% increase in first half revenue and operating profit of £317,000 ($514,617) citing strong performance in all of its geographic markets as the key driver.
The investment in the UK laboratory – financial terms of which were not disclosed – follows just a few weeks after Cyprotex secured additional funding of around £4m through a loan from investors including Harwood Capital.
However, while the CRO said the loan would fund expansion of its business on both sides of the Atlantic, it specified that the main focus of the spending would be the laboratory in Watertown, Massachusetts that it gained through the 2010 acquisition of Apredica .
Cyprotex is one of the first companies to lease space at the Alderley Park site since AstraZeneca revealed its intention to cease research and development (R&D) activities there in a surprise announcement in March .
Since then the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has been relocating R&D to operations in either a new site in Cambridge, an existing unit in Macclesfield or to locations outside the UK. The firm also shifted production of the cancer drug Zoladex and packing and distribution operations formerly carried out at the site.
Cyprotex’s new lab is part of an effort by UK bioscience incubator BioCity to establish a drug R&D center – or BioHub – at the site at the behest of AstraZeneca.
BioCity spokesman Ian Webster confirmed that Cyprotex has leased laboratory space that is suitable for work involving low level radioactive isotopes as well as a cell culture suite.
He told Outsourcing-pharma.com the CRO is the fifth firm to lease space at the site behind discovery firm Blueberry Therapeutics, imagining analysis specialist Imagen Biotech, Redx Anti-Infectives and Gentronix, the latter of which is due to set up shop in the next few weeks.