The Trudeau Institute, an independent not-for-profit biomedical research centre in Saranac Lake, US that specialises in immunology and infectious diseases, has set up a full-service contract research organisation (CRO) in the hope of developing translational partnerships with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Dr Dawn Jelley-Gibbs, who joined the Institute’s faculty in 2005 as a research assistant member, has been appointed senior CRO programme manager for the Trudeau Institute Contract Research Organization (TICRO). She is working with the Institute’s management team to develop and execute TICRO’s scientific programme.

The Trudeau Institute said it was responding to the drug development industry’s “increased reliance on CROs for specialty research in order to reduce the costs and delays associated with the development of new vaccines and therapeutics”.

TICRO will offer project-specific infectious disease expertise to biopharmaceutical companies and academic researchers, helping clients to design and execute efficient clinical studies with well-defined endpoints and contributing to the acceleration of the drug development process, the Institute added.

The new CRO’s key capabilities will include:

•    Mouse models of infection with a broad range of pathogens, including many targeting the respiratory tract.

•    Animal facilities and technical services, including bio-safety level 2 and 3 suites with select agent capabilities, surgery, rederivation, cryopreservation, breeding and aging.

•    Flow cytometry services, including the design and execution of multi-parameter phenotyping for low-frequency cells and the isolation of specific cell populations from infected samples

•    Microscopy and imaging services, including advanced histology, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, and imaging.

•    Molecular biology services, including investigating the impact of candidate therapeutics, infectious diseases, vaccines, and adjuvants on immune cell function at the molecular and gene expression levels.

The Trudeau Institute has been having a tough time financially of late. Last year there were local media reports of staff lay-offs as research grants have waned as well as senior faculty members departing for pastures new.