PPD deepens its Japanese focus with new joint venture leadership

Paul Colvin

PPD hired a general manager to help grow its Japan-focused joint venture with Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories, snagging a Parexel International ($PRXL) veteran as it works to expand its presence in a growing market for clinical development services.

Yasumasa Kurioka is on board as GM to help lead PPD-SNBL, launched earlier this year, reporting to joint venture CEO and PPD Vice President Paul Colvin. Kurioka spent 5 years at Parexel, serving as head of Japanese clinical operations, and previously held leadership positions at Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Novartis ($NVS).

At the joint venture, Kurioka is tasked with bringing "innovative operational strategies that will enable PPD-SNBL to use its extensive resources, long-term experience and local expertise to further meet its clients' needs in this important global market," Colvin said in a statement.

Under a deal closed in April, PPD merged its existing Japanese clinical development operation with SNBL's research division, creating a joint venture with offices in Tokyo, Osaka and Kagoshima. The American CRO holds a majority stake in the venture, and SNBL Chairman Ryoichi Nagata serves as its president. The combined entity employs about 400 people in the country, offering Phase I through IV services, the companies said.

The SNBL joint venture is among a series of deals PPD has used to expand its global capacity. Last year, the company partnered with the data collection experts at ERT and bought out the discovery-focused outfit X-Chem in an acquisition designed to bolster its early-stage expertise.

- read the statement