Quintiles has secured a multi-year preferred-provider contract with Bristol-Myers Squibb for central-laboratory and early-phase research services.

The US-based provider of biopharmaceutical development and commercial outsourcing services will support BMS’s central laboratory work, biomarker testing and assay development worldwide over the next five years.

No financial details were released on the agreement, which Thomas Wollman, senior vice president of Quintiles Global Laboratories, said would help to “bring personalised medicine into mainstream drug development”.

LabCorp deal

The announcement came less than a week after US-based diagnostics specialist Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp) clinched its own five-year preferred-provider agreement with BMS for full-service global central-laboratory services and biomarker testing.

That arrangement built on a “long-standing partnership” between the two companies, under which LabCorp’s global central laboratory, biomarker and specialty testing capabilities have supported various BMS early- and late-stage clinical-development programmes, the partners noted at the time.

Whither ICON?

BMS’s new agreements with Quintiles and LabCorp have prompted some speculation about the ongoing viability of ICON’s relationship with the pharmaceutical multinational.

In September 2011, ICON announced a preferred-provider agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb for early-phase studies.

The deal covered full-service clinical pharmacology and exploratory clinical studies, supplementing ICON’s existing strategic partnership with BMS for global clinical-development services.

The Irish company and fellow outsourced development specialist Parexel signed three-year agreements with BMS in June 2010 to provide joint strategic, operational and capability support for the latter’s clinical development programmes.