US-based contract research organisation (CRO) Parexel International is adding pain modelling and biomarker capabilities to its clinical pharmacology offering in the field of central nervous system (CNS) diseases.

The CRO’s dedicated clinical pharmacology services for drug development geared to alleviating pain and related symptoms will use neuroscience biomarkers to enhance assessments of safety and efficacy as well as pharmacokinetic analysis. “This expanded approach for a broad range of psychiatry, neuropsychopharmacology, neuroimaging and neurophysiology clinical studies provides greater information about CNS treatments in early-phase development,” Parexel explained.

As a recent report by Thomson Scientific noted, biomarkers are set to become “one of the major drivers of pharmaceutical research and development in the 21st Century”, with potential to stimulate innovation, improve the efficiency of clinical trials, target therapy more accurately and reduce costs both for innovators and healthcare payers,

Parexel’s global clinical pharmacology business includes more than 550 beds, “among the largest capacities worldwide”, it noted. The CRO runs Clinical Pharmacology Research Units (CPRUs) in Baltimore, Los Angeles and San Diego, US; London, UK; Berlin, Germany; and in Bloemfontein and George, South Africa. It also provides early clinical development programmes through a joint venture arrangement with Synchron Research in India.

The company recently completed the expansion of its CPRUs in Baltimore, London and Berlin, noting that biopharmaceutical companies were conducting more Phase I and proof-of-concept studies “with increasing complexity”.

As Parexel pointed out, CNS diseases account for an estimated one third of the world’s disease burden and include conditions characterised by chronic pain.