Besides adding to Quintiles’ bottom line via the Lilly deal, Advion--which provides Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) testing as well as other services--will help Quintiles fill a hole in its early-stage offerings.
“This acquisition fills in a gap in our capabilities,” said Thomas Wollman, senior vice president of Quintiles Global Laboratories. “As we’ve looked at how we need to grow the business, and at the expectations, needs and requests of our customers, we saw we were short in the bioanalytical area, particularly in metabolomics. This is an additive acquisition.”
Exact terms of the cash deal, which is expected to close this quarter, were undisclosed. Going forward, Advion BioServices will become Advion Bioanalytical Labs, a Quintiles company.
Spun off from Cornell in 1993, Advion has more than 180 employees in three U.S. locations: a 33,000-square-foot GLP bioanalytical laboratory in Ithaca, N.Y. (about 130 employees); a 10,000-square-foot GLP immunoassay laboratory in Manassas, Va. (about 12 employees); and a new, 22,000-square-foot discovery and metabolism lab in Indianapolis (about 40 employees). Advion has worked with 60 different clients in this year alone, according to Quintiles.
Advion co-founders Jack Henion and Tom Kurz, as well as other key members of the management team, will remain on board, said Wollman.
In March of this year, Eli Lilly and Advion formed a multi-year, early-stage bioanalytical outsourcing partnership. The arrangement was a “lift and shift” one, in which Lilly shifted 45 employees to Advion’s new facility in Indianapolis, completed in May, said Wollman.
The partnership was key for Quintiles. “We are very keen to continue that partnership,” said Wollman, who added that Quintiles spoke to executives at Lilly to make sure they were comfortable with the deal.
Why put resources into early phase work right now? Because, said Wollman, the high costs of failure in later-phase trials is causing the industry to shift toward more thorough lab testing in earlier phases.
“It’s the classic trend of drug development where the patent cliff and high R&D costs are putting pressures on companies to find better, deeper information earlier in the process to make better go/no-go decisions,” he said. “Acquiring Advion gives us additional high-science capabilities in key areas in those earlier phases.”
Wollman added that the deal will bring Quintiles 10 Ph.Ds.
Quintiles Global Laboratories works on global and regional trials in almost every country, with wholly owned facilities in the U.S., Europe, South Africa, India, China, Singapore and Japan, and a coordinated network of affiliate laboratories in Argentina and Brazil.
Overall, Quintiles has more than 20,000 employees in 60 countries.
-- Suz Redfearn