Elan Corporation has joined the growing ranks of biopharmaceutical companies forging broad-based strategic alliances with the contract research sector, announcing a global business collaboration with PPD geared to the “advancement, progression and execution of Elan’s development portfolio”.

The main objective of the tie-up, under which PPD will act as Elan’s primary service provider for all development functions and activities, is to deploy both companies’ skills and expertise “in a flexible, integrated manner to drive the execution of Elan’s clinical programmes in a parallel and expedited basis and on a global scale”, the partners said.

David Grange, chief executive officer of PPD, described the arrangement as “an innovative relationship structure” that drew on both companies’ strongest resources.

Elan will retain ownership of its assets as well as accountability for decision-making in terms of strategy, the progression of individual molecules and the overall development portfolio. At the same time, it will tap into PPD’s “significant and high-quality” capabilities in areas including project and data management, biostatistics, regulatory, clinical and medical monitoring, quality assurance and pharmacovigilance.

The new partners will work together closely to build on the initial relationship and explore “opportunities to leverage both companies’ respective competencies and maximise the full opportunity of moving Elan’s science” into clinical development and towards patients, they noted.

According to Eliseo Salinas, executive vice president, chief medical officer and head of development at Elan, the ability to access “fluidly” additional expertise and execution capability on a global scale through PPD will complement Elan’s internal talent and “may enable us to move multiple programmes forward in a parallel manner”. 

The announcement came little more than a week after Takeda Pharmaceuticals International, the US subsidiary of Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, unveiled strategic partnerships with Covance and Quintiles to plan and implement global drug development programmes.