LabCorp's CRO unit Covance doubles down on cell, gene therapy offerings

LabCorp has unveiled a new suite of cell and gene therapy development offerings from Covance as it looks to get in on this burgeoning new trend.  

“These solutions are designed to reduce time and risk for sponsors at each phase and across the full continuum of their therapy development needs in one of the industry’s fastest-growing segments,” Covance, the CRO unit of diagnostics giant LabCorp, said in a statement.

This follows the first CAR-T cell therapy approvals from Novartis and Gilead/Kite Pharma over the past few years in blood cancers, with CAR-T 2.0 also in the works (which could also target solid tumors) alongside the latent early work being done on gene editing and CRISPR, which could help across a range of diseases.

These developments are the cutting edge in biomedical R&D right now but are still in the embryonic stages, with deep complexities relating to development, manufacturing and safety. Covance says it will tap its experience to help offer the life sciences industry a close-knit partner and help push on with current and next-gen capabilities in this area.

“With approximately one-third of biopharma’s pipeline focused on precision medicines, it becomes even more critical to find innovative ways to help our customers speed these transformational therapies to the patients who need them,” said Paul Kirchgraber, M.D., Covance’s chief.

“Covance has made ongoing investments in people, processes and technologies targeting cell and gene therapies. We are also growing our capabilities and capacity by forming strategic partnerships and making key acquisitions, such as our purchase in early 2019 of MI Bioresearch, a contract research organization (CRO) specializing in nonclinical oncology testing, with a focus on immunotherapies and adoptive T-cell therapeutic approaches.” 

“Covance is uniquely positioned to provide scientific and technical expertise to support the rapid growth in development of cell and gene therapies and the introduction of new regulatory pathways for these products,” added Steve Anderson, Ph.D., Covance’s chief scientific officer.

“Our knowledge and experience from discovery through post-approval are significant, as demonstrated by our support of recent approvals in both cell and gene-based therapies. In the past four years, Covance has conducted more than 300 preclinical studies and more than 40 clinical trials for cell and gene therapies globally.”