The contract - financial terms of which were not disclosed - will see Argenta provide biology, pharmacology, chemistry and DMPK services and will focus on respiratory disease, which is an in area of particular expertise for the UK firm according to a spokeswoman.
She told Outsourcing-pharma.com that: "Argenta’s respiratory expertise stretches back to 2004 when Argenta merged with Etiologics and developed a strong respiratory capability and then a valuable pipeline of respiratory drugs.
"The pipeline was then spun out into Pulmagen when Argenta’s service business was acquired by Galapagos. The know-how and expertise that generated that pipeline remains with Argenta."
Argenta - a unit of Belgian clinical-stage pharmaceutical company Galapagos - did not specify which respiratory disorder BI has asked it to work on, although it is likely the drug candidate involved will be delivered via inhalation based the firm's track record.
"To date we have delivered an unprecedented 17 respiratory development candidates. 15 of these candidates are administered by inhalation – an area where Argenta has an unprecedented wealth of aptitude and competence."
Argenta already provides respiratory disease-focused discovery services for a number of Big Pharma companies, notably UK major AstraZeneca which contracted the firm and sister Galapagos company BioFocus in 2012.
We asked the firm whether it expects the BI deal to result in other discovery contracts - as its deal with AstraZeneca did - and that certainly seems to be the plan.
"Argenta’s aim is to establish strong, long-term relationships with our clients. Overall, we have been extremely successful with 85% of our work coming from repeat business."