Speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma Andrew Copestake, vice president and general manager, Europe at Icon Development, explained the market factors that led to Icon entering into a deal with the hospital.
Firstly, the incident at Northwick Park, UK, where some trial participants suffered multiple organ failure, has led to clients requesting studies are performed on hospital grounds, according to Copestake.
Since the incident the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has implemented new accreditation, increasing safety measures, but Copestake believes there is still a perception among clients that a hospital location is beneficial.
Consequently Icon entered into the deal with Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) and has established a good relationship, and geographic proximity, to the accident and emergency ward.
The contract research organisation (CRO) also intends to work closely with MRI’s investigators and the hospital’s nurses and technicians may spend time at Icon’s site.
By taking these measures Copestake believes Icon will become an integrated part of the hospital, not just a tenant, which will potentially benefit the partners, as well as clients and patients.
The second primary driver behind the deal is pharma’s desire to perform Phase I trials in patients, as well as healthy volunteers. By performing translational medicine Icon can give clients early indications of the efficacy and safety of a product in people with the illness.
Several CROs are bolstering their capacities in this area, including Quintiles which entered into a similar partnership with a hospital to establish a translational research facility in London, UK.
Copestake believes the UK government is encouraging the National Health Service (NHS) to reach out to partners in industry to ensure its work has commercial applications and this has helped the CROs set up the deals.
The relocation in 2012 is part of a two phase deal that will initially see Icon occupy a 34-bed translational research facility in the grounds of MRI.
Icon moves into the site, which has been built to its specifications, next year but will hand it over to MRI when it takes a planned 35,000 sq ft of the main redevelopment in 2012. At this point Icon will also move its operations at Skelton House, Manchester, to the redeveloped site.
The project is a “major development” for Icon and after its completion it will look to build on its success. Copestake added that the UK has a great reputation for clinical trials and Icon now has a partner that shares its research agenda.