PPD steps in as Elan's go-to CRO for development work

In a sign of the times, PPD has inked a deal to step in as Elan's primary service provider for all of its drug development work. PPD will contribute its expertise on project and data management, biostatistics, regulatory, clinical and medical monitoring, quality assurance, pharmacovigilance and other areas. Elan in turn retains control of its pipeline prospects and stays in the driver's seat on its neuroscience work.

"Establishing this strategic collaboration with PPD will enable Elan to accelerate the progression of our science into the clinical development setting in a rapid and global fashion," said Eliseo Salinas, CMO and head of development for Elan. "The ability to fluidly access additional expertise and execution capability on a global scale will complement our internal talent and may enable us to move multiple programs forward in a parallel manner."

A number of pharma companies have been turning more and more development responsibilities over to CROs. Covance has been one of the most aggressive players, acquiring facilities from Sanofi-Aventis and Eli Lilly in multibillion-dollar deals in exchange for longterm development contracts. And Pfizer's most recent shakeup is opening the door to a similar strategy as the pharma giant plans to outsource more of its R&D efforts to the CRO crowd.

- here's the Elan release