Quintiles has continued on its aggressive expansion trail of the last few months, announcing a definitive agreement to acquire Advion BioServices, a US-based bioanalytical laboratory that provides Good Laboratory Practice-standard pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) testing and other services, for an undisclosed cash sum.

Adding a “premier” bioanalytical offering to its existing central laboratories network enables the global biopharmaceutical services company to offer a “one-source solution for lab testing across the development spectrum, anywhere in the world”, said Thomas Wollman, senior vice president, Quintiles Global Laboratories.  

Customers will now have access to “world-class” PK/PD testing, molecular screening, drug discovery and metabolism, biomarker discovery, and immunoassay services that can inform early decision-making and help to reduce the risk of failure in expensive later-stage clinical trials, Wollman noted.

With the high costs of failure in later-phase development, the biopharmaceutical industry has shifted  towards more thorough laboratory testing at the pre-clinical stage and in Phases I-II, Quintiles pointed out.  

Three locations

Advion BioServices is part of Advion BioSciences, a life sciences systems and consumables developer based in Ithaca, New York. Once the deal with Quintiles is completed, the parent company will continue as Advion, Inc, focusing its resources and energies on expanding its systems and consumables business.

The BioServices arm has more than 180 employees spread over three locations in the US: a 33,000 sq ft GLP bioanalytical laboratory in Ithaca (some 130 employees); a 10,000 sq ft GLP immunoassay laboratory in Manassas, Virginia (around 12); and a 22,000 sq ft discovery and metabolism lab in Indianapolis (about 40 employees).

The Indianapolis laboratory was the subject of a multi-year contract between Advion BioServices and Eli Lilly earlier this year, under which Advion agreed to provide Lilly with a variety of drug discovery bioanalytical services to be conducted at the new facility in Indianapolis’ Purdue Research Park.

The deal included Lilly transitioning its own drug discovery bioanalytical capabilities to Advion BioServices and offering employees affected by the move the opportunity to join Advion.

The latter said at the time that the Indianapolis facility would  focus on earlier-stage bioanalytical services to evaluate how potential new medicines were absorbed and metabolised in experimental models. 

Quintiles will continue to support all of the customers currently serviced from the Indianapolis location and plans to expand further the number of customers using those services, it told PharmaTimes.

 Management team

Advion co-founders Jack Henion (chairman and chief scientific officer) and Tom Kurz (president, BioServices and corporate development), as well as other key members of the management team including Tim McGrath (executive vice president, operations and technology) and Stephen Lowes (senior vice president, scientific), will “remain involved” with the BioServices business as part of Quintiles, the latter said.

The acquisition, which is subject to customary conditions, is expected to be completed in early November. Advion will then be incorporated into Quintiles as Advion Bioanalytical Labs, a Quintiles company.

Good all round

According to Kurz, the transaction is “good for Advion, Quintiles and our pharmaceutical and biotherapeutics customers, who will benefit from enhanced efficiency of Advion and Quintiles coupling bioanalytical testing with global sample management, central labs, and central labs, and clinical trials management”.

 Working with Quintiles’ global Phase I network will help Advion to ensure rapid turnaround of bioanalytical/PK data, an essential facet in completing Phase I studies efficiently, McGrath observed.