Altasciences acquires SNBL to take candidates from selection to Ph IIb: 'A new alternative' in the mid-sized CRO market

By Melissa Fassbender

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/z_wei)
(Image: Getty/z_wei)
Altasciences is set to acquire SNBL in a deal that looks to bridge the gap between preclinical and proof of concept studies – and provide an average of 25% time savings, says CEO.

Altasciences is a mid-sized contract research organization (CRO) encompassing Algorithme Pharma in Montreal, Canada and Algorithme Pharma USA in Fargo, ND. It also includes Vince & Associates Clinical Research in Overland Park, KS.

At the end of 2016, the company went to market with the proposal of building a fully-integrated early drug development CRO.

With the acquisition of SNBL, the company is looking to make good on this proposal.

“We’re able to speak both preclinical and early clinical. That is the unique factor about [the acquisition] – It introduces a new alternative into that mid-sized market,”​ Altasciences CEO Chris Perkin told us.

The company now will be able support early-stage drug development from lead candidate selection to proof of concept – and according to Perkin, using one project management group could save companies approximately 25% savings in time. “You’re able to make decisions earlier,”​ he said. “That’s where were looking to go with this.”

Perkin also cited the company’s management structure of two executives in operations and research services as a contributor to time savings.

As part of the acquisition, Altasciences will be bringing in some of its own executives to the SNBL facility to complement the current team.

We specifically hand-picked experienced individuals with whom we worked alongside for many years, back when Charles River in Montreal was known as CTBR. It was essential that we hire people that share our culture and values, and particularly our focus on delivering expert guidance with exceptional customer service,” ​Perkin said, noting that it also will be adding additional capabilities at the site.

“We are going to be adding capabilities there expanding what they have … now it’s just looking at how we build the bridges,”​ he explained.

Moving forward, Perkin said Altasciences is going to see more competitors because the business model “just makes sense.” ​However, he said there is great opportunity for growth, noting specifically, bioanalytical services.

According to Perkin, it has been evident for some time that there is a gap in the market for a company to take drug candidates from preclinical studies through to proof of concept.

In five years, he said the company will have all the pieces in place to bridge this gap.

“We’ll be a mid-sized CRO that can take your drug from the time of your selection of candidate through to Phase IIb – and all the pieces in between,”​ he said.

The company also is discussing software development, to further streamline the move between preclinical and clinical.

The transaction – financial terms of which were not disclosed – is expected to be completed at the end of September.

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