Bigger in Japan: Biopta CEO predicts preclinical CRO business growth under new owners

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Bigger in Japan: Biopta CEO predicts preclinical CRO business growth under new owners

Related tags Stem cell

Preclinical CRO Biopta will add stem cell programming tech to its offering, expand in Japan and nearly double its workforce under new owner, Reprocell.

Japanese stem cell specialist Reprocell announced the acquisition of Biopta yesterday​, explaining that the deal had facilitated its entry into the preclinical services sector. It also said it will invest to expand the Scotland-based contractor’s range of services.

This plan was confirmed by Biopta CEO David Bunton – who will join Reprocell – who told us the Japanese firm’s own technology will also be incorporated into the range of services provided to pharmaceutical firms.

We will seek to expand the breadth of our predictive in vitro and ex vivo assays, based on the use of human fresh tissues at Biopta and also through the synergies within the Reprocell group such as Reinnervate’s expertise in 3-D models and ReproCELL and Stemgent’s expertise in stem cell-based assays for outsourced drug discovery​.”

At present Biopta employs 18 people at its facilities in Glasgow, Scotland and Maryland, US. Under Reprocell’s ownership the plan is to “grow this to over 30 in the next 2-3 years​” Bunton said.

Global, local

Bunton also predicted that Reprocell’s base in Japan would help Biopta expand its customer base, explaining that: “Japan is already an important market for Biopta and we aim to expand our market presence following the acquisition.”

Stem cell therapies are a major focus for the Japanese Government, which has introduced policies​ to encourage developers and committed billions of yen​ to support the sector.

But while overseas ownership will expand Biopta’s reach, the firm wants to maintain its relationships with fellow UK-based contractors, including firms like Molecular Profiles, XenoGesis, Aurelia BioScience, Reach Separations, Charnwood Molecular, with which it partnered in February​ this year.

This collaboration between UK CROs that offer a cohesive drug discovery service will continue​” Bunton confirmed, adding that “we hope that as Biopta expands its range of services we will add further to the capabilities that can be offered through the collaboration​.”

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