US-based contract research organisation (CRO) PPD has extended its global central laboratory services into China through an exclusive agreement with local testing laboratory Peking Union Lawke Biomedical Development Limited (PUL).

Under the arrangement, which enables PPD immediately to begin offering biopharmaceutical clients its full range of customised central laboratory services in China, the US CRO has invested in laboratory equipment at Peking Union Medical College in the Beijing Zhong Guan Cun Life Sciences Park.

The equipment is identical to the platforms operating in PPD’s global central laboratories in Brussels, Belgium and Highland Heights, Kentucky, the CRO noted. Assays performed by PUL have been extensively cross-validated and precisely calibrated to match instruments at the Belgian and US laboratories, it added, commenting: “With these and other ongoing quality assurance measures, PUL and PPD deliver laboratory data that are directly combinable.”

PUL is also interfaced in real time to ConneXion, PPD’s proprietary computer system, to ensure consistent management and reporting.

The Chinese company’s medical director, Dr Jian Ho, will oversee the Beijing laboratory, while PPD will lead project management and investigator services as well as working with clients on study set-up. As part of the agreement, PUL will conduct chemistry, haematology, urinalysis and haemoglobin A1c tests to support PPD’s clinical trial business in China. In return, PUL gets rights to use the equipment to conduct central laboratory testing for Chinese clients running clinical studies in their home market.

“Chinese law makes it extremely difficult to export lab samples to other countries for testing,” observed Dr Agostino Fede, senior vice-president of PPD and head of the company’s global central laboratories. “Our agreement with PUL expands our global central lab capabilities in a high-growth clinical research market. It also saves our clients time and money by providing lab results more quickly without incurring expenses for exporting shipments.”

Earlier this month another US-based CRO, Quintiles Transnational, consolidated and expanded its Global Central Laboratories and Clinical Development Services units in Beijing to accommodate a growing business in China.