The reason for the expansion “is twofold,” Elena Logan, senior vice president of central labs for PPD, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. “First, we had built out those capabilities in the US, which generated significant demand from clients in other regions of the world with microbiology needs.
“Second, based on our strong franchise in infectious diseases—which is among the top three therapeutic areas in terms of the industry pipeline—coupled with the fact that more clients want an integrated solution that combines clinical trial management with central labs services, we made the strategic decision to provide a comprehensive solution to our clients who want a full-service outsourcing model.”
Like its US facility in Highland Heights, Ky., PPD’s labs in Brussels and Singapore now offer microbiology testing services for bacteriology, mycology, parasitology and microbioterrorism pathogens.
All three labs can conduct virology testing, including real-time polymerase chain reaction, viral load, genotyping and SNP analysis. They also have the capability to culture, quantitate, identify and determine antibiotic susceptibility and resistance for aerobic and anaerobic organisms.
The company’s lab in China is the only one that has yet to expand to this type of capacity.
The North Carolina-based contract research organization (CRO) is “continually evaluating industry trends to determine how we can best support our client’s needs by offering the majority of testing in house,” Logan said.
“As a result, we have been strategically expanding our capabilities in all of our central labs in Belgium, China, Singapore and the US.”
PPD has conducted nearly 240 studies on infectious diseases over the past five years and the company’s central labs have handled about 50 of these studies.
“These new capabilities are significant enhancements to the broad portfolio of scientific and clinical expertise that we bring to the development of infectious disease products on behalf of our clients,” added Carol Olson, executive medical director and PPD’s therapeutic area head for infectious diseases.
The expansion comes as PPD has added three new therapeutic department heads. Daniel Burch, now heads the division on central nervous system; Puneet Mohan heads cardiovascular/metabolism and Alan M. Solinger heads the rheumatology/immunology sector.
Despite the expansions and new hires, both S&P and Moody’s downgraded their ratings of PPD in October 2012 as the company decided to issue $500m to fund a sponsor dividend.