This week’s acquisition of oncology biomarker specialist Targeted Molecular Diagnostics (TMD) has benefits for Quintiles’ managed partnership group as well as its Global Central Laboratories network.

While some of the TMD resources will be integrated into Global Central Laboratories, noted the division’s senior vice president, Tom Wollman, some will also go into the strategic partnership arm originally launched by the US contract research organisation in 2000, then expanded and rebranded as NovaQuest in May 2006.

Wollman said NovaQuest was working on establishing virtual development capabilities in oncology, where the TMD biomarkers would be a useful addition.

The development and utilisation of oncology biomarkers will be the responsibility of Quintiles Global Central Laboratories. The TMD management have all joined Quintiles and the existing team will continue to work out of its headquarters in suburban Chicago, which will become an “oncology R&D centre” for the CRO, Wollman told PharmaTimes.

While he acknowledged that the regulatory validation of biomarkers may not have kept pace with scientific development in the field, Wollman said there was “momentum” behind biomarkers in oncology, adding that TMS already had a number of key customers in this sector.

As Quintiles pointed out when it announced the acquisition, cancer is an increasingly important growth area for drug development. TMS provides strong capabilities in tissue-based testing, “a critical component of the modern oncology drug development process”, as well crucial expertise in biomarker expression analysis.

According to Wollman, Quintiles will gain some financial leverage from the existing contract backlog at TMD but more important are the long-term benefits of new and differentiating resources – including “brain power” – that “allow us to be a much stronger player in oncology”.

No price was disclosed for the acquisition. TMD is a privately held speciality diagnostic laboratory set up in 2004.