Biotrial, the privately held contract research organisation (CRO) based in Rennes, France, has consolidated its central nervous system (CNS) resources with the launch of a new Neuroscience division.

The move comes after Biotrial, which specialises in early-development services, acquired equipment and key personnel from Forenap, a French CRO specialising in CNS research that went into liquidation last year.

Biotrial has been “very active” in CNS drug evaluation for more than 20 years, the company points out.

The new, consolidated Biotrial Neuroscience division, it adds, will give clients access to a “unique pool” of scientific expertise, state-of-the-art equipment, and a collaborative relationship with other Biotrial groups, notably:

•    the Non-Clinical Department, dedicated to in vivo evaluation, model development and translational medicine;                                       

•    the Clinical Department, which focuses on early-phase healthy volunteer and patient studies;                                       

•    Biotrial Bioanalytical Services, offering capabilities in bioanalysis, custom assay development and validation, as well as biomarker quantification; and      

•    the Biotrial Core Lab for centralised pharmacodynamic assessments in mono- or multicentric trials.

Double edge

As Biotrial president and chief executive Jean-Marc Gandon observed, targeted medicine is now “at the heart of innovation”, reflected in a growing trend to conduct clinical trials “with a pharmacological and therapeutic approach very early on”.

The need for matching capabilities is particularly strong in a challenging field such as CNS disorders.  

When Biotrial “heard that Forenap was unfortunately closing we wanted to integrate some of Forenap’s highly qualified and motivated individuals into our CNS team, as well as their research centre’s state-of-the-art equipment”, Gandon explained.

That stage is now complete, “and we have fully established our extensive testing capabilities to help our clients with their projects in neuropsychiatry and neurocognitive diseases, as well as pain relief therapies”, he added.  

Philippe Danjou, who was chief scientific officer and is now Biotrial’s R&D director, said Biotrial Neuroscience had “capitalised on broad experience and a solid track record in conducting CNS-focused clinical trials”.

With the integration of Forenap’s personnel and equipment, the division can now provide more extensive services in the field of electrophysiology, sleep studies, neuroimaging and pain models, Danjou noted.