Clinical Network Services (CNS), a contract research organisation (CRO) based in Brisbane, Australia, has acquired the business assets of New Zealand counterpart BELTAS for an undisclosed sum.

All BELTAS contracts and clinical staff are transferring to CNS under the completed transaction. BELTAS will continue to provide Good Clinical Practice training in New Zealand.

The two CROs were previously strategic partners in Trialliance, which also involved Adelaide, Australia-based CPR Pharma Services.

Launched in November 2010 along with the joint Fast2Fast brand, the Trialliance partnership was aimed at attracting more clinical trials to Australia and New Zealand by pooling CRO resources across the region.

Broader capabilities

CNS provides integrated development services to virtual, small and medium-sized biotechnology companies in the planning, implementation and delivery of Phase I and II clinical trials.

Managing director Russell Neal said the acquisition of BELTAS “continues our goal of widening our capabilities across Australia and New Zealand”. Bringing together two “highly skilled clinical teams with years of collective experience” means CNS can “offer our clients a truly regional solution”, he added.

This follows a “tremendous year” for the company in 2012, which saw CNS record significant growth while expanding its regional Contract Research Associate base to improve servicing of local sites in Perth and Melbourne, and further bedding down its BioDesk offering, Neal noted.

BioDesk success

BioDesk is a product-development planning and regulatory affairs service for biotechnology companies keen to get into the clinic faster by creating and managing a pre-clinical programme that “encompasses a globalised regulatory perspective whilst leveraging unique regional advantages”, CNS explained.

According to Mark Reid, associate director, BioDesk and regulatory affairs for CNS, 2012 was a “remarkable year” for the new service, which performed “well beyond our expectations”.

There is “an obvious need for biotechnology companies to obtain expert support in making the transition from ‘bench’ to the clinic and BioDesk aims to provide this capability – particularly for companies looking to trial their products in Australia or New Zealand”, Reid commented.