Princeton, N.J.-based Certara, a global biosimulation technology-enabled drug development company, has acquired XenologiQ, a quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) consultancy that maintains its headquarters in the U.K.
Certara made the announcement Dec. 1. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
“This transaction strengthens Certara’s modeling and simulation capabilities, increases its leadership in mechanistic pharmacology, and supports the company’s precision medicine vision,” said Certara CEO Edmundo Muniz, M.D, Ph.D, in announcing the deal. “It also gives us access to the emerging QSP technology, which integrates quantitative knowledge about a compound with the understanding of the mechanism of action for a specific disease. QSP focuses on the behavior of biological systems as a whole, versus the behavior of individual components.”
The XenologiQ team will join Certara’s Simcyp division and the XenoloqiQ directors will assume leadership positions within the Simcyp QSP organization. Piet van der Graaf, Pharm.D.—currently professor of systems pharmacology at Leiden University in the Netherlands—will become vice president of QSP, and Neil Benson, Ph.D., the former head of systems pharmacology for Pfizer in Sandwich, U.K., will become head of QSP operations. Van der Graaf, a global leader in QSP, holds several patents in the field of target discovery, and has written more than 100 scientific papers and book chapters in the area of quantitative and translational pharmacology. He also serves as editor-in-chief of CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology, the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics journal.
Simcyp is an industry-leading mechanistic and physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling organization. It counts the majority of the top-40 pharma companies as its clients and members of the Simcyp Consortium. Key academic institutions, and global regulators, including the FDA, EMA, and Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) are consortium affiliates.
QSP is an emerging biosimulation discipline that unites computational modeling and experimental methods to examine the mechanistic relationships among a drug, the biological system, and the disease process. It integrates quantitative drug data with knowledge of the drug’s mechanism of action. QSP modeling shows how drugs modify cellular networks in space and time, and how they affect and are affected by human pathophysiology. In addition, QSP facilitates the evaluation of complex and heterogeneous illnesses like cancer, immunological, metabolic and CNS diseases that require the combination of multiple therapies.
“Certara’s move into QSP is a natural extension of its leading position in biosimulation,” said Simcyp President Steve Toon, Ph.D., as part of the company’s announcement. “The acquisition of XenologiQ signals the start of Certara’s commitment to become a world leader in the QSP space, furthering our objective of providing technology solutions that improve all aspects of the drug development process.”
“Combining PBPK with systems pharmacology is a natural fit. We see systems pharmacology models evolving alongside PBPK ones as new data becomes available to further inform crucial go/no-go decisions throughout the drug development continuum,” said van der Graaf. “We look forward to joining Certara’s Simcyp team and increasing the depth of human disease biology included in its biosimulation modeling.”