Contract research organisation (CRO) Quintiles Transnational is investing $19 million in relocating and consolidating its Global Central Laboratories and Clinical Development Services operations in the US state of Georgia.

The move to a 201,366 square foot, three-story site in Marietta, Georgia will more than double the combined space currently occupied by Global Central Laboratories and Clinical Development Services (CDS) in Smyrna and Atlanta, Georgia, respectively. It will also allow Quintiles to create some 400 extra jobs in these businesses by 2011, the company noted. Renovation of the building in Marietta is expected to begin in the third quarter of this year, with the first groups of employees scheduled to transfer during the second quarter of 2008.

“The increasing demand for our CDS and laboratory services is driving the need to expand, and we’re taking this opportunity to bring our Atlanta units together to improve co-ordination and efficiency for our customers,” said Dennis Gillings, Quintiles chairman and chief executive officer.

Building a lab network

Quintiles has been building up its Global Central Laboratories network worldwide, adding new laboratories in India and China and expanding on its existing laboratory in Scotland.

Under an agreement signed in October 2003 and amended in June 2005 to allow for global standardisation, Quintiles Laboratories Asia has been providing central laboratory services to support clinical trials in China through the Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH) in Beijing.

In April, the US CRO dedicated a new central laboratory in Mumbai, India. Last month the company announced plans to build a new office in Livingston near Edinburgh, Scotland, that will house its Product Development business – including Quintiles Laboratories – and the strategic partnering group, NovaQuest. This 112,000sq ft building will provide around 80,000sq ft of space for the laboratory arm in Scotland, which currently operates from a 36,500sq ft site.

The latest expansion in the US is backed by an incentive package, worth an estimated $11 million, from Cobb County, the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the Georgia Research Alliance and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. It includes training, collaborations with the Georgia Research Alliance Technology Fund and access to the Georgia Cancer Coalition as well as its Distinguished Cancer Clinician and Scientist Program. The Coalition has a network of more than 100 oncologists who are “ready to work with Quintiles on new clinical trials,” the CRO said.