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NIH toxicology contract renewed for MRIGlobal despite tightening budget

By Dan Stanton+

06-Aug-2014
Last updated on 07-Aug-2014 at 08:55 GMT

The tightening federal budget is increasing competition between research institutes and academia when it comes to preclinical toxicology testing, according to MRIGlobal.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, MRIGlobal has been re-awarded a contract by the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences to provide analytical chemistry services for the National Toxicology Program.

The Program was set up to ensure chemicals found in food, personal care items and prescription drugs do not cause cancer, genetic defects, or immune system responses and - according to MRI’s Associate VP and Director, Product Development and Repository Management Roger Harris – has helped accelerate toxicology testing on high priority drugs for government and industry since 1978.

“In our 43 years working with the National Toxicology Program, we have seen increasing partnership between government and industry on drug development opportunities,” he told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. For example, MRIGlobal has worked on preclinical toxicology and analytical support for three anti-AIDS drugs: azidothymidine (AZT), Didanosine (DDI), and zalcitabine (DDC).

However, the “tightening federal budget” was cited as the largest problem to preclinical toxicology testing, he continued, adding that “this has led to increased competition between research institutes and academia.”

In 2013, the program was downsized due to the impact of the US Government shutdown , but earlier this year the National Institute of Health (NIH) issued a tender for a new ten year program. RTI International and Battelle Memorial Institute have been awarded contracts along with MRI.

“We’ve learned how to dialogue and collaborate with all sectors – contract research organizations, industry, academia, and government agencies,” Harris said.

The company provides chemical procurement, handling, and analytical services in toxicology studies to the Program, and uses a variety of equipment and technologies. These include Liquid Chromatography, Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, and Infrared Spectroscopy, Harris told us.

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