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Spain and France join hands
June 2012
by Lori Lesko  |  Email the author


BARCELONA, Spain—Harlan Laboratories Contract Research Services (CRS) has taken a giant step closer toward emerging as a worldwide leader in preclinical drug development by signing an agreement to enter a three-year program with Ipsen, a global specialty-driven pharmaceutical company, for the development of early preclinical-stage drug candidates, including exclusivity in some specific areas. Financial details of the business arrangement, announced on April 23, were not disclosed.  
The new deal between the Barcelona-headquartered Harlan CRS and Paris-based Ipsen did not surprise many in Big Pharma or small business, and resulted in Harlan consolidating its standing in the early stage of the drug development process, according to a joint company news release.  
The partners in this venture are no strangers to each other. Harlan and Ipsen "were already collaborating in the past in the field of pharmacokinetics only," says spokesperson Anita Nahal of Nielsen McAllister Public Relations Ltd. U.K.  
Under the current agreement, Harlan's primary responsibilities are "to provide high quality and scientific excellence … to Ipsen's drug development projects," Nahal says. Furthermore, Harlan and Ipsen are on the same page "in terms of their respective teams working together with a common objective—to contribute to an efficient and proactive drug candidate selection," she adds.  
Harlan Laboratories CRS is one of the world's leading contract research organizations for the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and chemical industries. The company offers a wide range of pharma services with particular expertise in inhalation, infusion, reproductive toxicology, neurotoxicology, immunology, genetic toxicology, oncology and central nervous system disorders.  
Harlan's specialized Pharma Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion (ADME) department is primarily based at its site in Barcelona and staffed by scientists with in-depth experience and expertise in pharmacokinetics, in-vitro and in-vivo ADME and population pharmacokinetics, Nahal says.  
"This new agreement with Ipsen is in line with our strategy to satisfy the needs of the pharmaceutical industry in the preclinical arena, and underlines our willingness to be close to our customers, helping them to make their drug candidates successful," stated Dr. Ciriaco Maraschiello, head of the Global General Toxicology unit at Harlan. "We are delighted to be working with Ipsen and believe this collaboration will offer clients an unrivaled level of expertise and support in the early development of new drug formulations. This is a very important agreement which highlights our commitment to the pharma sector and reinforces our presence in the drug discovery segment of the drug development process."  
Harlan's ADME department is mainly based at Barcelona and is supported by a Swiss facility with expertise in long-term toxicological and environmental safety assessment. However, Harlan recently announced that it is in the process of a "strategic reshaping" of its business, resulting in a move of some activities from Switzerland to other locations, largely because of the costs associated with "the extremely strong Swiss franc."
"Switzerland will continue to play a crucial role within Harlan CRS, both now and in the future," said Harlan CRS president Manuela Leon. "We are taking a responsible and realistic approach, so that we remain competitive and high quality in our service delivery. We are already in the process of strengthening some key operational areas of our portfolio by bringing in additional, high-level talent into the Swiss business."

Ipsen opens N.J. headquarters  
BASKING RIDGE, N.J.—On April 25, Ipsen announced the opening of a new commercial headquarters here, a confirmation of what the company called its "commitment to growth for it uniquely targeted neurology and endocrinology therapeutics in the United States and to provide innovative specialty medicines to U.S. patients."  
Relocation of the company's headquarters is expected to create more than 100 new full-time jobs in New Jersey, where Ipsen said the growing pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries were key factors in its decision to establish operations. Fifteen of the world's 25 largest pharmaceutical companies have major facilities in New Jersey.  
"For Ipsen, the U.S. is a new market in which we see significant opportunity. The move to New Jersey gives us access to the best talents of the biopharma industry, critical to Ipsen's growth," said Marc de Garidel, chairman and CEO of Ipsen, in a statement. "This new commercial headquarters in the heart of New Jersey conveys our commitment to provide care to patient communities in the U.S., and will enable us to expand Ipsen's capabilities and capacity in the U.S. marketplace for our specialty endocrine and neurology products."  
Ipsen is also making a $45 million capital investment in its Milford, Mass., R&D/ technical operations facility, notably in bioproduction. The existing facility serves as a center for Ipsen's U.S.-based peptide and toxin R&D platforms, as well as a cGMP manufacturing facility focused on production of recombinant proteins for the treatment of hemophilia.
Code: E061226



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