Transgenomic, a US-based biotechnology company that supplies products and services for automated high-sensitivity genetic variation and mutation analysis, has forged a partnership in China that will offer pharmacogenomic testing to pharmaceutical companies wishing to conduct clinical trials in that market.

The US company has entered into a laboratory services agreement with the Guangzhou Family Planning Centre in Guangzhou, China, under which Transgenomic will provide pharmacogenomic analyses within the Guangzhou laboratory. Transgenomic has already equipped the facility with the instrument system technology needed to supply these services.

Craig Tuttle, Transgenomic president and chief executive officer, said a number of the company’s pharmacogenomic partners were interested in pursuing clinical trials in China. Under Chinese law, however, samples collected in the country must be tested in China. This is where the arrangement with Guangzhou Family Planning Centre comes in.

The new laboratory “provides the facility to enable us to offer our pharmaceutical customers the testing capabilities they seek as they expand their clinical trial efforts to Asia, opening significant new clinical testing opportunities for us and strengthening our position as a leading supplier to our pharmaceutical partners in their worldwide efforts to bring new drugs to market”, Tuttle commented.

Pharmacogenomics addresses the small genetic differences that help explain why some people respond positively to a drug while others fail to respond or may experience side-effects. Genetic differences can also predict variations in drug metabolism - how quickly or slowly a drug is eliminated from the body.