The firm – the US subsidiary of Japan’s Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories – has added 'enrichment tunnels' that permit animals to be socially housed in groups of three or four in standard housing rooms throughout its facility, which it claims provides them with “additional space to move and express their natural behaviours.”
Director of Laboratory Animal Resources David Reim said: “SNBL USA is committed to providing high quality animal care and premium NHP toxicology services,” adding that “this commitment requires ongoing assessment of all aspects of our animal care program, including social housing.”
This was echoed by VP of business development Mark Crane, who set the expansion in the context of market capacity for preclinical trials that involve primates.
"With the recent reductions of NHP facilities in the western states, there may be sponsors searching for a West Coast facility that can provide EU-compliant NHP housing for their studies," adding that "Our expanded social housing program, together with our patented procedure cage, makes SNBL the CRO of choice for NHP studies."
Crane did not specify to which specific reductions in western states he was referring, but Covance’s recent announcement that it will close its facility in Arizona – which did some primate work - would certainly fit the bill.
Whether – in the event that SNBL does win former Covance business – the firm’s investment in social housing and animal will be enough to placate the animal rights campaigners that tried to prevent the opening of the Arizona lab is unclear.
However, the depth of feeling this type of research engenders – demonstrated to us by the record number of Facebook ‘likes’ Outsourcing-pharma.com’s recent article on the closure received – suggests that SNBL is likely to face protests.