WuXi PharmaTech, the R&D outsourcing company based in Shanghai, China, has announced an agreement with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development (J&JPRD) to collaborate on preclinical services and associated training.

WuXi will provide toxicology and other non-clinical services to J&JPRD, a division of Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. Its partner will supply training and other services – to be reimbursed by WuXi – to establish a Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) quality system and the technical capabilities to meet international standards at WuXi’s toxicology facility in Suzhou, China.

Construction of this facility, the largest of its kind in China with 314,000 sq ft of space, was completed at the end of 2008. Last year, WuXi hired a management team “with extensive international experience” and made substantial progress in training an initial team of technicians in GLP services, the company noted.

The Suzhou facility is currently supplying non-GLP toxicology services as well as client-sponsored GLP validation studies. It remains on target to start offering GLP toxicology studies by mid-2010, WuXi said.

The new partnership with J&JPRD builds on an existing agreement under which WuXi provides Janssen with integrated pharmaceutical R&D services. In October 2008, the Chinese company went from being a preferred research services provider to J&JPRD for discovery chemistry to supplying integrated research services in the areas of discovery chemistry, discovery biology, chemical and analytical development services, formulation, and preclinical and bioanalytical services.

“We believe that China, with its high-quality scientific talent and favourable cost structure, is destined to become a major centre for toxicology services over the next decade,” commented Dr Ge Li, chairman and chief executive officer of WuXi PharmaTech.

“We aim to become a leading provider of these services and to add toxicology to WuXi’s broad, integrated platform of laboratory and preclinical services,” he added.