US-based contract research organisation (CRO) PPD has announced plans for new laboratory services in Singapore and Ireland that will come onstream during 2009.

The Singapore operation, which is expected to be up and running by the middle of next year, will expand PPD’s network of global central laboratories in response to growing client demand in Southeast Asia, the CRO said.

Providing biopharmaceutical customers with a “comprehensive range of highly customised laboratory services”, the new lab will consolidate PPD’s presence in Singapore, where the company has been offering clinical development services such as clinical trial management and monitoring, patient recruitment, site identification and regulatory affairs for a number of years, it noted.

“Establishing a direct lab presence in Singapore will enhance our abilities to reduce turnaround time and deliver high-quality specimens and laboratory results at better logistics costs for our clients,” commented Dr Agostino Fede, senior vice president of PPD and head of the CRO’s global central laboratories.

The equipment to be installed in Singapore will be identical to the platforms used at PPD’s global central laboratories in Brussels (Belgium), Highland Heights, Kentucky (US) and Beijing (China). Assays will be extensively cross-validated between the different locations to generate comparable data, the CRO added.

The new laboratory will also interface directly with ConneXion, the company’s proprietary global computer system, to ensure consistent management and real-time reporting. Within minutes, clients will be able to view and analyse laboratory results together with the outputs of other facilities in the network through PPD Clicks, a secure website launched by the CRO earlier this year, it pointed out.

250 jobs for Athlone

The Irish facility in Athlone will be a cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice-standard) analytical testing laboratory designed to meet increasing customer demand for these services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

PPD will plough up to US$18 million into the unit, which is expected to start operations by the second half of 2009. The investment will create some 250 positions including PhD-level scientists, analytical laboratory staff and other clinical development professionals.

The cGMP lab will offer analytical testing services in method development and validation, stability and quality control for all phases of drug development, with particular emphasis on inhalation and biopharmaceutical products.