orsolt & Partners Pharmacology, a preclinical contract organisation (CRO) with headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, is expanding its laboratory capacity and beefing up its business development team in preparation for what the company believes will be a sustained period of growth over the next 5-10 years.

Phase one of the construction programme for a 60,000sq ft, state-of-the-art testing laboratory began on a 10-hectare site in Laval, France, during the first quarter. The new facility, which is scheduled for completion early next year, will boost capacity for Porsolt’s disease models, which range across a number of therapeutic areas, and its Good Laboratory Practice-standard pharmacology expertise.

The new site close to Porsolt’s existing laboratories will give the CRO “a sustainable platform on which to grow in line with the demands of our clients”, said chief executive officer Dr Mark Duxon. These demands include an increasing emphasis on access to secured capacity (platform deals) under Porsolt’s ‘Scientist-to-Scientist’ branding.

According to Duxon, it is Porsolt’s commitment to a highly personalised service that “has enabled us to grow while other preclinical CROs have receded against the backdrop of global financial difficulties”.

The strategy has included hiring two experienced PhD biologists from Big Pharma who will provide business development support from a permanent base in the United States. New business development headcount in the US will rise further in line with the company’s expansion during 2009 and 2010, complementing an existing team of five in Paris, France, Porsolt added.

Founded in 1984 under the name of I.T.E.M.-LABO as a subsidiary of the French I.T.E.M. group, Porsolt became fully independent in November 1999. The CRO offers efficacy and safety evaluation services across a broad therapeutic spectrum including the central nervous system and pain, the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastro-intestinal, renal and urogenital systems, metabolism and obesity, and drug dependence and abuse.