US-based contract research organisation QPS Holdings has teamed up with The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, a non-profit research organisation focused on translational safety sciences, to launch QPS Hepatic Biosciences as a centre of excellence for cell-based research and services.

Hepatic Biosciences is constituted as a new division of QPS Holdings’ DMPK (drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics) department. It will be housed within The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, which operates out of a multidisciplinary campus in the US state of North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.

The Hepatic Biosciences division will specialise in hepatocyte research, drug metabolism, drug-transporter sciences, and in vitro drug-drug interactions.  

Scientific leadership for the new operation will be shared between Dr. Edward LeCluyse, sssociate investigator at The Hamner, and Dr. Caroline Lee, QPS’s director of drug metabolism and transporter sciences.  

Hepatic Biosciences also assumes responsibility for all Good Laboratory Practice-compliant quality assurance and bioanalysis in support of The Hamner.

As well as augmenting existing research programmes at The Hamner, QPS will pursue new business opportunities for both organisations under the partnership. No financial details of the arrangement were disclosed.

Bench to bedside

The Hepatic Biosciences division “continues the growth of our DMPK competency which initiated with the hiring of Dr. Ragu Ramanthan in October 2012 to spearhead the QPS Biotransformation group”, noted Zamas Lam, vice president of non-clinical development at QPS Holdings.

Benjamin Chien, QPS chairman, president, and chief executive officer, said strengthening in vitro ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion testing) capacity at QPS was “a logical extension of our bench-to-the-bedside strategy in bridging preclinical data to Phase I by addressing drug-drug interaction concerns”.