Quintiles gets bigger in Singapore to continue Asian push

By Phil Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Clinical development, Clinical trial, Singapore

Quintiles Transnational Corp has announced an expansion of its operations in Singapore in order to meet what it described as “surging demand” in the Asia-Pacific region.

The contract research organisation is setting up a new regional headquarters will be double the size of its existing presence in Singapore, according to Quintiles, and will be the home of the region's largest clinical development organization.

Quintiles has been busying itself in the Asia-Pacific of late, an area that is witnessing a period of growth in the demand for clinical trials services as the pharmaceutical industry continues to globalise in search of time and cost efficiencies in drug development and access to new untapped markets in which to sell their drug products.

Its Asia-Pacific investment has led to expansion of seven local offices in the region and the addition of a new location in Indonesia. And earlier this year the company announced the consolidation of its Global Central Laboratories and Clinical Development Services (CDS) units in Beijing into a single, but expanded facility in order to accommodate its growing business in China, as well as improve coordination and efficiency.

"Quintiles is the largest and fastest growing clinical development group in Asia​," said Dennis Gillings, the CRO’s chairman and CEO.

"Since entering the region in the 1990s, we have built a strong staff of 2,800 clinical development professionals, representing a total of 23 nationalities, who have worked in more clinical trials and with more investigator sites than any other single organisation in Asia.​"

Anand Tharmaratnam, head of clinical development, Quintiles Asia Pacific, said the expanded facility renews the company's commitment to the region and to its partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

Singapore has been investing hard in its biomedical sciences industry, and a little over a year ago completed the first in a three-phase programme aimed at consolidating its position in the Asia-Pacific region.

One key area of focus has been the setting up of infrastructure especially for translational research, such as imaging, animal testing and early-stage clinical trial facilities, as this is a field that Singapore believes it has its strengths and offers the biggest potential for market growth.

"Our growth in Singapore has been bolstered by the expanding base of companies and research institutes in Singapore's larger biomedical sciences research community​," Tharmaratnam said.

"We are projecting continued strong growth in the future, and this new facility gives us the room we will need.​"

Quintiles' Central Laboratory and its Clinical Development Services (CDS) offices will move into approximately 80,000 sq. ft. of space in a building now under construction in Singapore's Science Park One. The move is planned in the third quarter of 2009.

Quintiles has expanded offices recently in Manila, Taipei, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Sydney and Hong Kong, as well as opening an office in Jakarta.

The company has also expanded its presence in the region by partnership. In June, for instance, it signed an agreement with EPS International, a clinical development provider with offices in Japan, China, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan.

Cardiovascular partnership

Meanwhile, Quintiles has boosted its early-stage testing capabilities via a collaboration with QPS. The latter’s clinical research unit, Bio-Kinetic Clinical Applications, will now work alongside Quintiles in offering a portfolio of cardiovascular safety testing services.

The Cardiac Safety Service will provide carry out studies for sponsors and also provide electrocardiogram (ECG) laboratory support, independent cardiologist and medical monitor oversight, pharmacokinetic and statistical analysis, and reporting of cardiac safety trials.

These clinical trials, commonly called Thorough QTc (TQT) studies, typically are done early in development​,” said QPS in a statement.

They evaluate a drug's effect on cardiac repolarisation by indentifying any QT/QTc interval prolongation and/or proarrhythmic potential. Between them, the two companies can draw on 550 Phase I beds across the US and Europe, allowing them to carry out large studies as well as smaller, first-in-man trials.

QPS completed the acquisition of Bio-Kinetic Clinical Applications in January of this year.

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