Cetero buys Allied Research for early-phase boost

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

The purchase of Canada's Allied Research International (ARI) has
given Cetero Research a boost to its early-phase clinical services
and geographic reach in Canada.

ARI adds 210 Phase I beds, four specialty environmental exposure chambers (EEC) used in allergy research as well as additional bioanalytical capacity, to the 1,400 beds and three bioanalytical laboratories that Cetero already has across North America.

Cetero said the addition of the EEC chambers were particularly welcome; " These cutting-edge research chambers are world-class clinical units designed and validated to produce a controlled response to allergens while monitoring the effects of the investigational drug," said a statement.

ARI itself only recently expanded its own Phase I testing capabilities after it bought key assets of South Florida Bioavailability Clinic International's (SFBC - now PharmaNet) Miami, Florida operations, in August last year.

The Miami site included a clinical laboratory, as well as equipment and a 46-station cardiac monitoring suite, 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, in disease areas such as asthma, allergy, renal disease, hepatic disease and diabetes - another major drawcard for Cetero.

ARI said at the time that the expansion was in response to a large need for these (Phase I) types of studies, in which few other contract research organisations (CROs) specialise.

Indeed, early-phase clinical service areas are currently a bottleneck in preclinical development as more biopharma firms, both small and large, are deciding to outsource the function.

Many small biotech firms simply don't have the early-phase infrastructure and resources and rely on CROs.

Meanwhile, some large firms are closing down their existing early-phase facilities after taking the decision to reinvest elsewhere.

Early-phase services, therefore, have a record of strong profitability and growth for the CROs who are involved in this corner of the market and many have been building up and diversifying their early-phase capabilities in order to cash in on this potential.

There are also high barriers to entry due to the specialisation required - good news for those already established.

With this in mind, a new start up company in the UK, Quotient BioResearch, has recently been formed with ambitions to shape itself into a global early-phase drug development services group through an acquisition-based strategy, instead of starting from scratch.

Related topics Clinical Development Phase I-II

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