Quotient BioResearch Ltd, a new UK company that will offer its analytical and safety evaluation services mainly to the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, has kicked off an acquisition-led strategy by paying £20.25 million for HFL Ltd, the forensic laboratory business owned by the UK’s Horseracing Betting Levy Board.

HFL’s revenues for the year to March 2007 are projected at more than £10 million. As well as conducting drug surveillance and supplement testing for horseracing and other sports, the company provides drug development services for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including bioanalysis, biomarker research, pharmaceutical analysis and clinical laboratory services.

This fits with Quotient’s aim of building a major presence in early-stage drug development and related services. The new company, which is owned by a consortium of investors including founder and executive chairman Paul Cowan, HFL’s senior management team, and property companies Helicar Bar and The Dencora Group, intends to expand on this base through further acquisitions.

Cowan brings contract research experience to the table as the former chief financial officer of the Scottish-based Inveresk Research, which was acquired by Charles River Laboratories of the US in 2004.