Further terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, Outsourcing-pharma.com understands that Precos will continue to operate under its current branding as a Crown Bioscience company and that both firms will be able to market each other's products and services.
Crown Biosciences president Jean-Pierre Wery said: “The acquisition represents the next step in expanding the range of specialized services we offer pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical customers worldwide.”
He added that Precos “offers Crown Bioscience an immediate footprint in Europe with a significantly sized organization to support engagement with European and global clients, as well as develop cutting-edge models and services for Crown Bioscience’s existing client base.”
This was echoed by Neil Rotherham, chairman of the UK firm, who told Outsourcing-pharma.com that: "We occupy a niche market sector in oncology drug discovery and provide unique patient-relevant models. We have only seen significant growth in the Oncology sector with clients continuing to move their research towards utilising models that are more relevant to the patient condition.
"We have no plans for any immediate change to the number of employees at either organisation, apart from looking to continue to hire good candidates at all levels in the organisation. The organisations are very complementary and we only see continued growth for both organisations as we share our expertise."
The firms stressed that current contracts would not be affected by the acquisition.
Precos’ main offerings are its orthotopic and metastatic modelling technologies, imaging services as well as its unique range of patient-derived Xenograft (PDX) models.
The PDX technology was developed at the University of Nottingham, UK – from which Precos spun out as an independent company in 2010 – and has been used to test candidate lung cancer therapies.
In August last year Precos started expanding its PDX range after the UK Human Tissue Authority (HTA) granted it a license to store and handle human tissue, previously the license had been held by the University.
At the time Precos told Outsourcing-pharma.com it would extend its PDX offering “to a wider range of cancer types beyond the focus of the research interests at the University and utilise the original patient material for in-house molecular characterisation.”
And the PDX models are likely to be a key business for Precos post-acquisition according to Rotherham who told us that: "There has been an immense growth in the use of these models for Preclinical surrogate Phase II trials and Biomarker identification. Together [Crown and Precos] now lead the way in the provision of such studies."