Aptuit says it has made rapid headway attracting clients to the drug discovery and development centre it took over from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Verona, Italy as part of a strategic alliance in June 2010.

The US-based drug-development services company now has 100 clients, spanning the range of large pharmaceutical multinationals, mid-size and small pharma, biotechs and start-ups, placing work at The Aptuit Center for Drug Discovery & Development. Aptuit started out in Verona two years ago with just one customer – GSK.

The Italian centre had been sidelined by GlaxoSmithKline’s decision to cut down on its discovery activities in the neurosciences.

Under their strategic alliance, the two companies agreed that the 500 or so staff working at GSK’s Medicines Research Centre in Verona would transfer to Aptuit while the latter would provide GSK with R&D services from the Italian facilities.

Client list

The Verona client list includes companies from the European Union, North America, Asia and South America, bringing projects in a number of therapeutic areas, noted Mark Hembarsky, vice president and site leader of the facility.

Other than GSK, Pfizer, Chiesi Farmaceutici, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Boehringer Ingelheim, UCB, C10 Pharma and Autifony Therapeutics have tapped into the revived facility.

According to Hembarsky, most clients have subsequently contracted repeat business with Aptuit and many have requested proposals for additional work before the initial project was completed.

Big picture

Part of this, he suggested, was down to taking a ‘big picture’ approach. “Because of our legacy as an R&D engine of a leading pharmaceutical company, we understand the total process of drug discovery and development and we apply that understanding to all work that we perform - whether it's fully integrated services or a specific stand-alone project.”