Biopharma CRO round-up: Eurofins, Charles River and more

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/Ahmetov_Ruslan
Image: iStock/Ahmetov_Ruslan

Related tags: Charles river, Merck kgaa

An expansion in Ireland for Eurofins, new cell screening tech for Cyprotex, and an mRNA development deal for Charles River. Welcome to Biopharma-Reporter’s bio-service round-up.

Among the findings from the Jefferies 2016 Global Healthcare Conference last week, the growth in biologic approval numbers and unabated biotech funding have continued to drive investments and agreements among service firms. So here are a selection from the past week:

Eurofins

Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories has announced plans to add 4,400m2​ of lab space to its bioanalytical facility in Dungarvan, Ireland, and has committed to a 1,800m2​ second site nearby.

The firm – a subsidiary of Eurofins Scientific – is investing on the back of growth among its strategic biopharma partners, adding capacity for method development, microbiology, process validation and quality control.

Company chairman Timothy Oostdyk said the expansions “reinforces Eurofins' absolute commitment to aggressively funding growth to enhance the way we serve our customers as well as build the best and widest-reaching testing network in the biopharmaceutical market.”

The news was welcomed by Ireland’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA) which said the growth in support services would help cater for “the large cluster of biopharma companies based in Ireland.”

In recent months the country has seen biomanufacturing facility investments from the likes of Merck & Co​., Merck KGaA​, Shire​ and Biomarin​.

Cyprotex

Next up is preclinical contract research organisation (CRO) Cyprotex which has bought an IntelliCyt iQue screener in order to expand its cell-based services.

The tech uses flow cytometry to analyse fluorescently labelled cells in a fluid as they flow past a detector and can help discover immune-oncology antibodies by assessing multiple cellular parameters faster using lower amounts of reagents, or so the sales blurb at IntelliCyt​ goes.

But according to Cyprotex’s CEO Anthony Baxter, the purchase will help his CRO expand into the field of biologics which is seen as “a critical step in the continued growth of Cyprotex. Flow cytometry not only allows us to address this market but enables us to target immune-based phenotypic screening and safety assessment of small molecules.”

Charles River

To another preclinical CRO now and Charles River Laboratories (CRL) has inked a strategic deal with Moderna Therapeutics for nonclinical discovery and development efforts across the biotech’s messenger RNA (mRNA) pipeline.

The Massachusetts-based biotech firm has ten protein and antibody programmes in development based on its proprietary modified mRNA technology and, according to Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel, the CRL deal will help “enable the scale, efficiency and speed”​ of these.

“In particular, this collaboration will allow us to accelerate GLP toxicology study timelines, which will be instrumental as we continue to progress our development candidates into the clinic,”​ he continued. “Charles River’s expertise across discovery and nonclinical development activities, combined with their familiarity with our novel platform, make them an excellent partner for Moderna.”

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