The US firm has solidified an alliance with Bio-Images Research, which was founded in 2000 as a spin out from the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow. The company specialises in gamma scintigraphy imaging services for preclinical and early-phase clinical trials and currently serves the European market, assisting firms in accelerating their formulation development programmes. PII specialises in contract formulation development, and the manufacturing of clinical trial materials of both solid and semi-solid dosage forms and company senior vice president Steve King said that the collaboration with Bio-Images "will enable PII to provide more extensive service for our customer base". In addition, the firm said that its customers in North America will also now benefit from access to Bio-Images' university links and connections with expert consultants; a hospital base, allowing access to defined patient groups and specialist medical support; as well as its experience in "innovative labeling techniques". Professor Howard Stevens, chairman of Bio-Images, added that through the new alliance, his company will in particular be helping PII with many of the new technologies it is now offering its customers in the area of drug delivery. In terms of his own firm, Stevens said that the tie-up "represents a strategic development of Bio-Images' commercial activities in North America and offers a significant expansion to our US customer base". The alliance with Bio-Images is just another in a series of steps that PII has been takeing to branch out of late, with an expansion and an acquisition having been undertaken by the company since the beginning of the year. In March the contract manufacturer opened a new 30,000 sq ft development, aseptic filling, and GMP production plant near Baltimore, Maryland in the US. At the time, King, said that the expansion, which was 18 months in the planning phase, allows the firm to fulfill its customer demands for the aseptic filling of vials. Initially the aseptic filling line will fill containment and high potency small molecules for clinical trials and the commercial supply of niche products. The firm also has a lyophilised product manufacturing capability on site. He also indicated that further investments were being planned by the company. Moreover, PII gained a new UK site through an acquisition made in January of preformulation and formulation development services firm Pharmaterials for an undisclosed amount. The purchase was made to extend the development capabilities and service offerings of Pharmaceutics International's business, adding prefomulation, polymorphism, salt screening and co-crystal services to the company's repertoire. Commenting at the time, King said that the firm had been "actively expanding" its range of services through alliances in new drug delivery ventures. The deal with Bio-Images is a clear continuation of this strategy.