Certara, a US-based translational life sciences company focused on improving the efficiency of drug discovery and development, is stepping up its presence and investments in mainland China and Taiwan.

Formed last November through the US$57 million acquisition of Pharsight Corporation by Tripos International, Certara has selected Taipei-based genomics and proteomics specialist Tri-I Biotech as the sole distributor for the combined Certara offerings in these markets.

Last year’s deal brought together Tripos, which supplies drug discovery informatics products and services, with Pharsight, whose speciality is software, strategic and regulatory services to optimise clinical development. Retaining Tripos’ base in St Louis, Missouri, Certara incorporates both Tripos and Pharsight as portfolio companies.

Tripos itself was a spin-out from its former parent company, Tripos, Inc, whose Discovery Informatics business was sold to San Francisco-based private equity firm Vector Capital for US$26.2 million in March 2007. The debt-ridden Tripos, Inc was subsequently liquidated.

Certara said Tri-I Biotech would provide drug discovery and development scientists in mainland China and Taiwan with full access to the company’s range of new software solutions, as well as to new releases of existing products.