Maccine has expertise with primate research while Porsolt & Partners specialises in the provision of other animal pharmacology research services. "We have seen a growing demand for primate research services from our clients but the hosting and manipulation of primates requires important specificities that we don't currently have expertise in," Dr Martine Lemaire, senior director of Scientific & Business Development at Porsolt & Partners, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. "Maccine is a start-up but has the know-how, skills and capacity necessary, so for us, it was a natural extension of our services." Dr Lemaire said primate pharmacology is increasingly used to analyse not only the safety but also the efficacy of new drugs in development, in particular for biopharmaceuticals. "With the growing number of biologic drugs in the pipeline, it was important and justified for us to get a foot into this type of services," she said. The two firms will work on a commission basis with a percentage when recommending a client to the other party. Dr Lemaire explained that the collaboration will take two possible shapes. "One of our clients can decide to continue to work with us but needs Maccine's services, in which case we will act as an intermediary, meaning that our involvement and responsibility will be fairly high," she said. The other option - and the one Porsolt & Partners expects to start with - is for pharma clients to be recommended by one of the firms to the other and deal with them directly. The initial deal is a 12-month contract but Dr Lemaire said she expects it to lead to an extended relationship between the two CROs. "Many big pharma companies have operations in Singapore so this collaboration will enable us to reach further the Asian market," said Dr Lemaire, adding that her company currently has clients in Australia, India and New Zealand. According to Dr Lemaire, Maccine had the opportunity to get some financial support from the government, which, added to the higher intellectual property (IP) protection standards of the country, made Singapore the ideal location for Maccine. Singapore has been investing heavily in its biomedical sciences industry over the last five years, building up infrastructure, establishing cutting-edge technologies and developing manpower under its biomedical science (BMS) initiative. The first phase of this initiative has finished and the second phase is now underway, with S$1.4bn (€0.7bn) earmarked for the purpose. In addition, a new accreditation scheme for laboratory testing was recently established in the country by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC), in partnership with the College of American Pathologists (CAP). Looking forward, Dr Lemaire said this partnership with Maccine - would hopefully lead to a higher cohesion of the two firms' service lines, and maybe eventually could open the way to potential buyout talks. "But not in the near future, we are still at the 'experimental' stage."