The first fruit of a collaborative agreement between ICON and the Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust (CMFT) to develop purpose-built translational medicine facilities on the Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) campus should be up and running next spring.

ICON, the global provider of outsourced development services based in Ireland, said its hospital-based translational medicine unit is scheduled to open on the MRI campus in the UK in April 2010. The facility will incorporate 34 beds, an on-site Good Manufacturing Practice pharmacy, a sample handling laboratory, multiple meeting and admissions rooms, and contiguous access to the MRI’s Accident and Emergency department.

There will also be pharmacodynamic testing suites with full environmental controls, which will “further enhance ICON’s market leadership in the development and validation of pharmacodynamic models that assist in identifying efficacy signals in compounds”, the company added.

According to ICON, the unit complements its investment in new bioanalytical and biomarker laboratory capabilities in Manchester last year. The company announced its plans for the translational medicine unit in June 2009, noting it was part of the CMFT’s ambitious expansion programme for the Manchester Royal Infirmary campus. The rest of this redevelopment work is scheduled for completion by April 2012.

“We have been conducting clinical pharmacology in Manchester for over 25 years and this new unit will enable us to continue to develop the region as an international centre of excellence in translational medicine,” commented Dr Thomas Frey, president, 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 by the Department of Health as a centre of excellence for the application of research and education in healthcare.