US-based contract research organisation (CRO) QPS has acquired a majority stake in Austrian CRO JSW Life Sciences, beefing up QPS’s capabilities in preclinical and Phase II-IV development, with particular emphasis on the central nervous system (CNS), and expanding its reach in Central and Eastern Europe.

No financial details were released on the deal, which will see QPS Life Sciences renamed to QPS JSW and headed as of 1 September by Dr Jaap Wieling, co-founder and managing director of QPS Netherlands.

“Integrating JSW with QPS will afford us more global exposure and market competitiveness, and also allow us to offer complete services from preclinical to clinical,” commented Dr. Manfred Windisch, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of JSW Life Sciences.

Windisch becomes chief scientific officer - Europe for QPS and will continue as CEO of JSW Clinical Investigations, a joint alliance company with two other European CROs.

Acquisitive run

The majority interest in JSW extends an acquisitive run for QPS, which in the last couple of years has been concentrating its energies on widening its presence in the Asia Pacific region, as well as taking over Xendo Drug Development in the Netherlands in July 2010.

The latest deal “represents our fifth cross-border acquisition, thereby pushing QPS further up as a high-quality contract research provider in the ranks of the global CRO business space”, said CEO Ben Chien.

The new partners described JSW Life Sciences as the largest independent contract research organisation in Austria.

Over the past 13 years, they noted, JSW has been developing its reputation as a full-service, high-quality CRO and “the leading specialist” in CNS diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, stroke, depression, psychosis and schizophrenia.

This latter expertise is further enhanced by capabilities in preclinical efficacy studies, including in vitro molecular and cellular analysis, they added.

JSW is the leading provider of genetically modified organisms for research in CNS diseases and the only company that can combine behavioural analysis, brain neurochemistry and biochemistry as well as quantitative histology and histopathology into preclinical research, the partners said.

Maximum synergies

The Austrian company’s clinical operations span Phase II-IV trials (both single- and multi-centre), including project planning and management, study monitoring, database management, data analysis, medical writing and regulatory affairs.  

According to Windisch, QPS offers “the maximum of synergies for JSW in terms of their activities in preclinical as well as clinical drug development”.

The combined offering should markedly strengthen QPS’ research capabilities in neurodegenerative disorders, “which are dramatically increasing with increased life expectancy”, he observed.  

QPS services

QPS provides preclinical and clinical research services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients worldwide in the areas of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, toxicology, bioanalysis and translational medicine, as well as early-stage and Phase II-IV clinical studies.