CRI Worldwide has expanded its specialised services for early-stage clinical trials in the US by acquiring Lifetree Clinical Research, an early-stage provider with expertise in human abuse liability, analgesia pain model development, sleep medicine and addiction.

No financial terms were disclosed. Lifetree brings with it a 35,000 sq ft, 60-bed facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, boosting CRI’s clinical pharmacology capacity to more than 120 beds and making it “one of the largest providers of patient population Phase I services in the United States”, the latter said.  

Trial sponsors will now have access through one organisation to more than six million patients and healthy volunteers, along with a broad range of psychiatry and neurology research services at three US sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Utah, it added.

CRI’s specialist capabilities are in psychiatry, paediatrics, pain and neurology. The company conducts inpatient and outpatient trials at Phase I units located inside medical and psychiatric hospitals in Philadelphia and Mount Laurel, New Jersey.

Lifetree's founders, Alice Jackson and Lynn Webster, remain with the company and will continue to lead operations in Utah while becoming part of the combined organisation’s senior management and clinical teams. 

Jackson said the deal with CRI “fulfils a long-time goal for Lifetree to expand our early-phase work in pain and human abuse expertise to include psychiatry and neurology services”. CRI will provide Lifetree with the operational and financial resources “to continue to do what we do best and to expand the capabilities of Lifetree Center for Neuroscience Research”, she added.

As they look to improve returns on research investments, drug companies and contract research organisations “increasingly need clinical research sites that can offer highly specialised services and access to patient populations,” commented Jeffrey Kinell, CRI’s president and chief executive officer.