vivoPharm, the oncology-focused contract research organisation (CRO) based in Australia and specialising in integrated preclinical toxicology, is beefing up its testing services by acquiring the RMIT Drug Discovery Technologies (RDDT) business of Melbourne’s RMIT University.

In a share-based transaction RMIT, which set up the RDDT business in 2004 with support from the Victoria state government, will take a 20% stake in vivoPharm. RDDT will continue operating out of RMIT’s Bundoora campus, which will become the Australian headquarters for vivoPharm.

RMIT had been looking at strategic options for taking RDDT into international markets and had identified vivoPharm as “a strong partner with suitable administration, infrastructure and international marketing activities”, the two companies noted.            

Founded in Adelaide nine years ago, vivoPharm recently established US operations in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It also runs a sales and marketing office in Munich, Germany, to service European customers.

Adding in RDDT will enable vivoPharm to expand its suite of toxicology testing services and make them available to international as well as Australian customers, the two companies said. RDDT also brings to the table “a vast network of existing contacts and a strong client base”.

Ready for the next level

After six years of evolution, RDDT “is ready to move to the next level of pre-clinical toxicology safety testing”, commented chairman Derek Young. “We did exactly what we set out to accomplish – we developed a business that has caught the attention of an established, Australian-based but internationally focused company.”

Dr Ian Nisbet, newly appointed chairman of vivoPharm, said RDDT would be a significant growth driver for the CRO.