The drive towards strategic outsourcing in drug development continues apace, with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) announcing three-year agreements with ICON and Parexel “for joint strategic, operational and capability support of the company’s clinical development programme”.

Under the agreements, ICON and Parexel will “provide global support for the execution of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s clinical studies”, underpinning the company’s full development pipeline over the next three years, it noted.

Due to a “robust” pipeline and significant in-licensing activity, Bristol-Myers Squibb “is preparing for a large volume of clinical development work” that necessitates expanding on its existing partnering approach to clinical development,” the company explained.

In line with BMS’ BioPharma strategy, the agreements with ICON and Parexel “will complement the company’s internal high-performing capabilities and capacity with high-quality clinical development services from partners who can drive efficiency and cost savings”, it added.

According to Brian Daniels, senior vice president, global development, for Bristol-Myers Squibb, the partnerships will enhance the operational capability of the company’s clinical development organisation while supporting “our industry-leading position in productivity and innovation”.

Dr. John Hubbard, ICON president, clinical research services, said the company had forged a strong relationship with Bristol-Myers Squibb over the last 10 years by working hard to understand fully BMS’ “unique” requirements. “We look forward to moving this partnership to another level and continuing to support Bristol-Myers Squibb’s goal of bringing innovative treatments to patients,” he commented.

Josef von Rickenbach, chairman and chief executive officer of Parexel International, welcomed the prospect of a “deeply collaborative” relationship with BMS “to help provide innovative solutions for its growing pipeline, as well as to leverage our global capabilities and worldwide technology infrastructure to support the effectiveness of its clinical development programmes”.

According to von Rickenbach, the partnership represents “a best practices outsourcing model focusing on increased efficiency and the creation of significant value”.