GenScript vice president Sally Wang told Outssourcing-pharma the firm will create assays for drug targets selected by the Swiss drug major, and predicted that “the work will involve multiple functions from both sides considering the nature of drug discovery and development process.
“The project GenScript is undertaking will contribute to Roche’s drug discovery portfolio and preclinical programs by providing unique assays for novel drug targets.”
The Roche unit, known as the Roche R&D Center China (RRDCC), was established in 2004 at the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in Shanghai.
Prior to the GenScript partnership, the site and its 40 strong staff of scientists had focused on medicinal chemistry research for lead optimisation, which as Roche’s CSO Li Chen explained, provided a firm base to add biology R&D.
Dr Li said: “After the success of medicinal chemistry outsourcing, biology CRO is becoming a new trend in drug discovery. We expect a fruitful collaboration with GenScript in assay development.”
Li went on to say that while previously it was difficult to find a provider capable of the development of assays, in the last few years an increasing number of CROs have begun offering this type of service and the market is becoming more competitive.
Despite the growth in competition, GenScript believes that scope of its assay offering makes its stand out from the crowd, as Wang explained.
“There are not many CRO companies except GenScript which can provide one-stop bio-reagent services ranging from custom gene synthesis and molecular biology, custom protein expression and purification, to custom peptide synthesis, antibody production, and custom cell line development.”
And, GenScript looks set to further expand its offering. In June the firm secured some $15m (€10m) in venture capital funding for infrastructure development.
Wang said: “The investment fund will be strategically used for recruiting more industry veterans and talented scientists and for investing in state-of-art instrumentation and capacity expansion.
“This strategic investment will benefit our customers for them to receive assay services with quality and timely delivery in broader therapeutic areas which are offered by experienced staff.”