The firm said it has bought key assets of South Florida Bioavailability Clinic International's (SFBC) Miami, Florida operations, including a clinical laboratory, as well as equipment and a 46-station cardiac monitoring suite.
The expanded facilities add to ARI's existing Phase I clinic in Miami, as well as its 80-bed Phase 1 unit in Toronto, Canada, bringing its total capacity to over 230 Phase I beds.
ARI's Miami clinic has only been open for a short time and was designed to conduct complex Phase I studies in special populations.
"The greater Miami area provides a large pool of experienced, healthy volunteers and subjects with specific medical conditions needed for special population studies," said the firm.
ARI said the latest expansion was in response to "a large need for these (Phase I) types of studies, in which few other CROs specialise."
Indeed,the the biopharma industry continues to face bottlenecks in early stage research and is struggling to move forward fast enough.
The number of new drugs that entered clinical testing surged 52 per cent over the three years to 2005, largely due to new technologies that are allowing high throughput screening of drug targets.
The result has been a jump in demand for early stage clinical testing services, causing backlogs in study scheduling of up to six months.
Also fuelling the demand for early development services is efforts by pharma firms to outsource various stages of drug development in order to improve the cost and efficiency of R&D by moving drug candidates through the pipeline faster, as well as an explosion in small biotech firms who don't have in-house research capacity.
"ARI's new Miami operations have already experienced strong interest from biotech and pharmaceutical company clients," said the company.
"Now we have significantly expanded capacity to perform complex Phase I and special population studies in the Miami area and the addition of an onsite clinical laboratory provides ARI with an enhanced service offering and an additional revenue source."
Other CROs are also making moves to expand in this under-represented area of clinical research services.
A new Phase I clinical services company, Roanoke Clinical Research (RCR), was formed in June in order to take advantage of this gap in the market.CRO giant, Covance has also been making major expansions in its US Phase I/IIa drug development capabilities of late, buying eight early-phase clinical development sites from Radiant Research in May.