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The best of both worlds
April 2013
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


PRINCETON, N.J.óContract research organization (CRO) Crystal Pharmatech and Particle Sciences, a leading contract drug development company based in Bethlehem, Pa., have announced the formation of a new partnership that will allow both organizations to offer their clients a more complete solution for the development of low-solubility compounds.  
In recent years, roughly 65 percent of pharmaceutical compounds in development have been somewhat soluble to practically insoluble in water, highlighting the need for innovation in drug formulation and techniques to enhance solubility. This partnership will seek to provide a more complete solution to clients facing solubility problems with their compounds.  
Crystal Pharmatech is experienced with solid-state characterization and determining the ideal solid phase for a variety of compounds, in addition to providing fundamental material property evaluation. Particle Sciences, for its part, has more than two decades of experience working with various formulations of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) as well as multiple delivery and formulation formats. Both companies will be able to use each other's core competencies to recommend each other to clients, thereby offering the best programs for their clients' compounds and projects.
"Our sweet spot is a fundamental understanding of the active pharmaceutical ingredient and how it impacts every stage of pharmaceutical development. Particle Sciences specializes in advanced drug delivery technologies, the drug product. You truly cannot separate these two disciplines if you want a successful, trouble-free development," says Dr. Robert Wenslow, Crystal Pharmatech's vice president of business development in the United States and Europe. "Many CROs will say that they address both API and drug product development/understanding, but our two companies are specialty shops for these two disciplines. It truly makes a difference to a successful drug development program. This partnership will combine the best of both worlds and truly offer our clients the best means of getting their drugs to market. "
This is the first time the two companies have worked together, says Wenslow, who notes that Particle Science's "attention to fundamental science was very attractive to us from a partnering standpoint. There's a gap in the CRO market for vendors focused on science; that's what we are both striving to provide." Both companies, he stresses, are "completely focused on cutting-edge science and personal attention to clients."
Robert Lee, Ph.D., vice president of pharmaceutical development at Particle Sciences, says this arrangementóboth companies having vetted each other's capabilitiesó"reduces the due diligence that our clients might have to do, so it offers a one-stop shop." Particle Sciences' core competence is in drug delivery and formulation development, says Lee, and that is the area in which the company wants to continue growing, rather than diluting their efforts. It makes sense, he notes, to "identify the vendors out there that have very big capabilities in the spaces that we don't intend to grow in."  
"We have the expertise in-house, but it just didn't make sense for us to add solid-state characterization as a distraction, and we would need equipment, so we made a strategic decision to evaluate contract organizations that offer solid-state characterizations, including Crystal Pharmatech and three others. We came to the conclusion that for our clients and for the types of services that we wanted to offer for our clients, that Crystal Pharmatech was the best fit," says Lee.  
Partnerships such as these, with or between CROs, are something he expects to see continue in the industry.
"I think you can see that more and more, where you have centers of expertise or excellence that link together and as a whole provide excellent development services. I think that is a more viable strategy going forward than trying to get everything under one roof," Lee concludes.
Code: E041329



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