Chinese CRO Pharmaron acquires U.K.-based Quotient Bioresearch

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Beijing, China-based contract research organization Pharmaron has snapped up fellow CRO Quotient Bioresearch as it looks to broaden its reach both technically and geographically.

Pharmaron said the acquisition of Quotient Bioresearch--not to be confused with U.K.-based Quotient Clinical--"strengthens the company's service portfolio" by adding new radiochemistry capabilities and creates a global leading chemistry platform with a full spectrum of services.

It will also offer the firm greater market penetration in Asia, Europe and the U.S. Financial details were not disclosed, but Pharmaron will be feeling flush after a $280 million injection of cash from China's CITIC M&A Fund and Legend Capital in December.

Pharmaron, with more than 3,000 employees and tie-ups with Big Pharma firms such as AstraZeneca ($AZN), will add the 200 employees from Quotient Bioresearch (QB) to its ranks. The Chinese CRO, founded in 2003, said the deal was prompted by QB's own extensive acquisition trail, which saw it buy GE Amersham's radiosynthesis business back in 2009.

"We are very pleased to have Quotient Bioresearch join the Pharmaron team," said Dr. Boliang Lou, chairman and chief executive officer of Pharmaron.

"This acquisition is part of our long-term strategy to grow our services and broaden our technical and geographic footprint to better serve clients throughout the world. Combining these two companies gives Pharmaron industry-leading custom radiosynthesis capabilities, and further consolidates our leading position in the field of discovery, preclinical and clinical DMPK.

"This move will help accelerate the discovery and development of novel drugs for our customers with Pharmaron's comprehensive and integrated drug research and development engine."

This comes two weeks after QB received an FDA inspection (in relation a U.S. sponsor's drug trial). While it received no observations (i.e., no FDA 483 form was issued), its MD, Stephen Lewinton, said the regulator did give a "couple of helpful points for discussion … which will provide opportunities to further improve and develop our services in line with FDA expectations".

Lewinton said of the merger that his firm is "excited to become part of Pharmaron's integrated drug research and development platform."

- read the statement