PharmaNet Development Group, the US-based clinical development services provider acquired by inVentiv Health in May, has teamed up with a Canadian research institute to set up what the company says will be the country’s first in-hospital translational medicine unit for Phase I-IIa clinical trials.

PharmaNet’s local subsidiary, PharmaNet Canada Inc, has signed a letter of intent with The Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) in Montreal for a joint venture to establish, manage and operate the facility at the Montreal General Hospital. No financial details were disclosed.

The translational medicine unit, which PharmaNet says will “transform” the way pivotal proof-of-concept studies are conducted, is expected to start operations in 2012. According to Riaz Bandali, president, Early Stage Development for PharmaNet, the initiative “aligns PharmaNet’s and RI MUHC’s objectives of optimally developing innovative therapeutics for patients in need”.

Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies using the facility will have access to state-of-the-art capabilities, specialised scientific knowledge, a broad range of patients, and “unsurpassed” medical and clinical development expertise within a safe hospital environment, Bandali added.

RI MUHC director Dr Vassilios Papadopoulos cited the Institute’s medical and scientific leadership in the understanding of diseases such as cancer, respiratory illness and cardiovascular failure.