Quintiles opens first India lab and hunts for new business

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Clinical trial, Pharmacology

Quintiles has opened its first central laboratory in India and is
hunting around for further business opportunities in this growing
pharma research hub.

The company was one of the first multinationals to base itself in India at the dawn of the country's budding clinical trials industry and chairman and CEO Dennis Gillings said that the opening signals "the acceptance of India as a centre for clinical research.""Since establishing an office in Ahmedabad 10 years ago, we have added offices in Mumbai and Bangalore, expanded our clinical research staff to 750 and conducted more than 700 global trials,"​ he said. The Mumbai-based lab has begun proficiency testing for certification by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), and adds to the core clinical research and electrocardiogram (ECG) businesses that Quintiles already has in the same location, as well as other related services offered by the company in India including interactive voice response (IVR) and data management. The new lab will be one of only a few global central laboratories operating in India and Quintiles is hoping to use this competitive advantage to lure more of its clients to conduct trials in the budding region. Quintiles already runs similar laboratories in the US, Europe, South Africa, China and Singapore, and has a network of sub-contractor laboratories in Argentina and Brazil. Meanwhile, during his visit to open the Indian facility, Gillings also said that the firm was now actively seeking new drug development deals through its subsidiary NovaQuest (previously PharmaBio Development) as it expects the Indian pharmaceutical industry to make a "significant contribution in the next five to ten years"​ as these firms begin to develop their own intellectual property. Although according to Gillings, Indian drug development deals are not a primary focus for Quintiles, NovaQuest is already "in talks with a few companies"​ and is reviewing its options in the area. In March Quintiles' smaller rival Pharmaceutical Products Development (PPD) in-licensed its first preclinical compound off India's Ranbaxy in a deal worth up to $44m (€33m). The in-licensing move is highly unusual for a contract research organisation (CRO) like PPD, whose primary business model is to provide drug development assistance on a fee-for-service basis. The new compound will be taken under the wing of PPD's small but growing Compound Partnering division, which currently has four compounds in development with three partners. However, analysts have predicted the firm will have bagged itself a bargain if the potential anti-cholesterol drug successfully reaches the lucrative statin market. Quintiles - operating via NovaQuest - is one of the few other CROs delving into this business area and currently has drug discovery partnerships of varying degrees with over 35 companies, mainly in the US, such as Eli Lilly. Quintiles benefits from the NovaQuest arrangements by providing development and project management services.

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