US-based biopharmaceutical services company Quintiles has signed a collaborative agreement with two leading medical institutions in the UK, under which Quintiles has commissioned a state-of-the-art research facility at Guy’s Hospital in central London.

The agreement, which Quintiles describes as a “significant step in driving innovation, improving patient care and increasing efficiency in early-stage clinical research”, is with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and with King’s College London. The new facility on the 14th floor of Guy’s Hospital is scheduled for completion early next year.

The Quintiles Drug Research Unit at Guy’s Hospital, as it will be called, will provide 30 beds for patients and healthy volunteers and will significantly boost Quintiles’ capacity to conduct proof-of-concept programmes that help biopharmaceutical companies develop medicines quicker, it noted.

“The biopharmaceutical industry must bring new drugs to market faster and with greater predictability to address declining research and development productivity,” commented Eddie Caffrey, senior vice president, Global Phase I for Quintiles. “The smartest move is to invest in intelligent, early-stage development because, when done well, it has significant impact on speed and cost of the overall development process.”

Another benefit of the collaboration, Quintiles pointed out, is that it will bring the company physically and professionally closer to academic and medical colleagues at King’s Health Partners – the Academic Health Sciences Centre formed by King’s College London, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust – and its National Institute for Health Research comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

The Quintiles Drug Research Unit at Guy’s Hospital will be “perfectly positioned” next to leading-edge clinical research facilities and a good manufacturing practice-standard pharmacy currently under development by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London “to drive forward the translation of science onto the wards”, the company added. Moreover, it will sit adjacent to the home of the BRC’s new Faculty of Translational Medicine.

The new unit in Guy’s Hospital Tower is an expansion of Quintiles’ existing Phase I facilities in Newcomen Street, London.

Professor Robert Lechler, vice-principal (health) at King’s College London and director of King’s Health Partners, said the tie-up with Quintiles and with Guy’s and St Thomas’ was “exactly the sort of collaboration we expect to see at the heart of King’s Health Partners”.