ICON, the international contract research organisation (CRO) based in Ireland, will collaborate with the Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust (CMFT) in the UK on developing a purpose-built translational medicine facility.

The new facility is part of the CMFT’s ambitious expansion programme for the Manchester Royal Infirmary campus, which has already delivered the UK’s largest children’s hospital, ICON noted. The rest of the redevelopment work is scheduled for completion by April 2012 and will include the ICON-designed Translational Medicine Unit.

In the meantime, ICON will transfer its current clinical pharmacology services into dedicated clinical research facilities on the Manchester Royal Infirmary site. Moving to a hospital-based setting “also meets the needs of our customers, who are increasingly looking to run their first-in-human studies in hospital environments”, commented Dr Thomas Frey, president of ICON Development Solutions.

The CMFT is a member of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC), one of only five centres in the UK to be designated as a centre of excellence for the application of research and education in healthcare.

ICON is among the MAHSC’s selected industry partners and, through its collaborative agreement with the CMFT, the CRO will share its own expertise as well as gaining access to the facilities of the other NHS members of the MAHSC and the University of Manchester.