Small Eno River Labs thinks big

By Emilie Reymond

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pharmacology

The booming pharmaceutical contract research market sees a new
player enter the arena as analytical lab Eno River Labs separates
into two independent divisions to create a new business that will
provide analytical and formulation services to the pharmaceutical

The newly-created division, called Gorbec Pharmaceutical Services, will provide analytical and development services to pharma and biopharma companies.

It will offer bioanalytical services using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS) for the quantitative and qualitative analysis of small molecules in biological matrices for preclinical and clinical studies in the US.

In addition, Gorbec will offer its clients formulation services for topical products, solid oral dosage forms, capsules and liquid solutions.

"In two years we will also be able to offer sterile services for our customers; we are currently constructing the facility,"​ Mike Gorman, Eno River Labs' president, told

Contract research organisations (CROs) are already being increasingly relied upon by pharma firms in many aspects of drug discovery due to the lack of internal expertise and infrastructure within many of these companies, as well as the mounting costs of drug development and stringent regulatory guidelines.

Biotechnology companies in particular present a real growth opportunity because they are typically small and have very limited investments in development infrastructure compared to their pharmaceutical counterparts.

"There is a number of small companies in the US that are working on very small pipelines and are 'virtual' in the sense that they don't have any production or operational facilities,"​ said Gorman.

This means that the large volume laboratories cannot cost effectively work with this type of customer, he explained.

He added that Gorbec can offer expediency to these companies, something that bigger services providers are not able to offer and this is exactly the segment it will work to target.

"What we will do is give our customers the attention they need on a small scale."

What is more, the number of new drug compounds expected to be researched over the next several years is considerable and Gorbec intends to emerge as a leader in analytical testing and formulation development services for the researchers in this area as well as in other areas across the country, the company said.

"We see tremendous opportunity to assist in the development of new pharmaceutical products in the small niches not optimally served by others in the market."

And the company sees this move as a lucrative one as Gorman said he expects the new company to generate $30m (€22m) to $50m in annual revenues in the next three to five years - a considerable jump from the firm's current turnover of around $3m per year.

While Gorman could not reveal the identity of its first customers, he told that his company had already signed half a dozen contracts for preclinical and Phase I method development services.

At the moment, the company's method development services business represents 70 per cent of the company's revenues while 30 per cent comes from formulation services.

He said that eventually he would like to see these figures reversed.

Meanwhile, the other division of the company, which will maintain the company's current name, will focus on Eno River Labs' core business - environmental testing services.

Eno River Labs and Gorbec Pharmaceutical Services are privately owned and located in the Research Triangle Park in Durham, North Carolina.

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