ICON, the global provider of outsourced development services based in Ireland, has fortified its commitment to personalised medicines by forming a strategic alliance with Empire Genomics, a US company that develops and supplies high-throughput technologies for genome-wide analyses to determine the underlying disease mechanisms.

The two companies are teaming up to develop “a service portfolio tailored to the development of personalised medicines”. The partnership yokes Empire Genomics’ expertise in pharmacogenomics and in computational modelling of disease states, drug disposition and drug targets to ICON’s capabilities in translational medicine, clinical trial design and biomarkers, the latter noted.  

The combined offering will enable clients to identify responder target populations, stratify patients through the development and use of companion diagnostics, and streamline drug development programmes through the generation and analysis of relevant preclinical and early-stage clinical data, ICON said.

“Genomics play an integral role in personalised medicine, and through our collaboration with Empire Genomics, we can now offer sponsors integrated personalised medicine services,” commented Dr Cyril Clarke, vice president for translational medicine, ICON Development Solutions.

Empire Genomics was set up in 2006 on the basis of work started at the

Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. Research by its founder and chief scientific officer, Norma Nowak, contributed directly to the Human Genome Project as well as microarray-based approaches to understanding heritable disorders and cancer, the company pointed out.

ICON beefed up its bioanalytical and immunoassay capabilities in July 2009 by acquiring biomarker services specialist Veeda Laboratories Ltd, a UK-based subsidiary of Anglo-Asian contract research organisation Veeda Clinical Research Group.

Last November, ICON announced a strategic alliance with UK-based protein biomarker specialist Proteome Sciences, bolstering the Irish company’s biomarker offering by incorporating an integrated suite of labelling, separation and mass spectrometry technologies for protein and peptide profiling in complex biological materials.