Eli Lilly cancelled the construction of the insulin manufacturing facility in January as part of a manufacturing operations reshuffle that was designed to ensure its facilities reflected its current product portfolio and pipeline. The facility has now been bought by Covance for an unspecified amount as the CRO (contract research organisation) looks to convert it into a 410,000 sq. ft. early-stage drug development laboratory offering safety testing and chemistry analysis services. "The increased demand from our biopharmaceutical clients for our preclinical safety service offerings has led Covance to seek opportunities to enhance and expand our operations in Northern Virginia and build upon our multi-year global expansion plans," said Wendel Barr, Covance's president of Early Development North America. The facility is located on a 47 acre property in a technology park in Prince William County, Virginia, US, and was initially designed by Lilly to cope with forecast growth in the insulin market which has not been realised. According to Covance, the company plans to relocate some 450 staff to the site by 2011 from its existing operations in the state located in Vienna, Va and Chantilly, Va, as well as employing 100 new staff by 2014. Covance expects to invest a total of around $175m in the project, while receiving approximately $3.7m in combined financial incentives from the Commonwealth of Virginia and Prince William County. The news of the new site follows on from the company's particularly strong 3rd Quarter results that saw revenues from the company's 'Early Development' segment rise 19.2 per cent compared with the same period in the previous year to reach $199.5m.