US-based contract research organisation (CRO) Averion International has divested its staffing services business to members of its management for around $2.3 million.

Averion, which recently announced a strategic alliance with Brazilian drug development services company Biocancer, said the staffing services division was “a non-core asset that has been a financial burden on our operations”. The disposal would allow Averion to focus on executing growth strategies for its core CRO business, it noted.

Under the terms of the sale, Averion is set to receive an upfront cash payment of US$455,000, deferred payments totalling $250,000 and unsecured promissory notes with a face value of around $1.6 million.

“Our strategy is to enhance our ability to capitalise on the trend toward increased clinical trial outsourcing that is driving industry growth, while taking measures to reach sustainable profitability,” noted chief executive officer Dr Philip Lavin. Averion reported a net operating loss of $577,253 for the second quarter ended 30 June 2007, compared with a $912,140 loss for the second quarter of 2006.