The acquisition of the business, called DecisionLine Clinical Research Corporation, will see Kendle join the ranks of the growing number of CROs bolstering their early phase capabilites. "With Phase I growth expected to outpace the broader outsourcing market at approximately 15 per cent annually, early phase development remains an important need for our customers and an area of significant growth opportunity for Kendle," said company president Simon Higginbotham. The firm said that the purchase of DecisionLine gives it new scientific expertise with psychopharmacology high-end exploratory/translational medicine capabilities, from first-in-human to proof-of-concept trial conduct, as well as additional drug development consulting, medical writing, data management, biostatistics and other support service offerings. In particular, DecisionLine specialises in the conduct of Phase I studies involving the measurement of pharmacodynamic effects of central nervous system (CNS) drugs - one of the key disease areas tipped for growth in drug development in the coming years. It is also "recognised worldwide as a leader" in the conduct of human abuse liability studies and the assessment of abuse potential and risk mitigation, said Kendle. Moreover, since 2002 it has grown its revenue at an average compound annual growth rate of 60 per cent, and has been named to Profit magazine's list of the top 100 fastest growing companies in Canada. The newly-acquired business also has an 82-bed, 36,000-square foot medical facility staffed by 110 full-time and 130 part-time scientists, including clinical pharmacologists and neuropsychologists, physicians, research nurses and pharmacists. "The addition of DecisionLine is an important step in building Kendle's global capabilities for exploration of early phase drug candidates and supports our strategic initiative to drive growth in our Phase I business", said Higginbotham. Kendle's existing early phase capabilities include a 48-bed Clinical Pharmacology Unit in Utrecht, The Netherlands, with with on-site project management, recruitment and screening, sample handling, pharmacy, quality control, clinical data management, biostatistics, medical writing, a Phase IIA team and independent Clinical Quality Assurance. It also has a 118-bed Bioequivalence Unit in West Virginia. Kendle said that the acquired business will be absorbed into its Early Phase unit, under the authority of Philip Davies, vice president of the division. Under the deal, DecisionLine´s founders Dr Edward Sellers and Dr Myroslava Romach will join Kendle's Early Phase organisation, with Dr Sellers serving as general manager, Early Phase, Toronto and senior scientist, Kendle International and Dr Romach assuming the roles of head of Clinical Operations and Medical Affairs, Early Phase, Toronto and senior scientist, Kendle International.