Aptuit teams up with respiratory R&D expert Chiesi on IPF drug discovery

Aptuit teams up with Chiesi to develop new drugs for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Aptuit, a CRO focused on early- to mid-phase drug development, has inked a deal with Chiesi Farmaceutici to develop new drugs for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Both companies will contribute to the partnership their strengths. According to a press release put forward by Aptuit, the CRO will provide integrated early discovery capabilities, including medicinal chemistry and pharmacology, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics to help identify potential candidates for preclinical development.

The new project “builds upon the existing relationship between Chiesi and Aptuit in the field of respiratory drug discovery,” said Jonathan Goldman, Aptuit CEO.

Aptuit sold its clinical trial supplies business to Catalent in 2011 at a price of $410 million. Timothy C. Tyson, Aptuit’s then chairman and CEO, said at the time that the deal “puts Aptuit in a better position to … concentrate on delivering high-growth, high-value scientific services from discovery to mid-phase development.”

The company made two acquisitions in 2016: Basel, Switzerland-based Exquiron Biotech, which offers expertise in assay development, and London-based Kuecept, a CRO specialized in preformulation testing, preclinical dose-vehicle screening and formulation development. The CRO now has facilities in the U.K., Italy and Switzerland, and focuses on therapeutic areas such as respiratory, neuroscience, antibacterial and oncology.

Last November, as part of a $5 million investment in its drug discovery capabilities, the CRO completed expansion of its compound library to include additional 150,000 novel compounds, and the expanded collection is now over 400,000 in size.

Parma, Italy-based Chiesi, on the other hand, is an 80-year-old research-focused international healthcare group. It specifically focuses on respiratory diseases, as well as neonatology and rare diseases. It has a drug delivery platform called Modulite, which delivers “extra-fine particles” for inhalation.