PPD expands vaccine lab space and efficacy testing capacity

Microbiology lab
PPD expands vaccine lab space by 17,000 square feet.

PPD has just expanded its vaccine sciences lab in Richmond, Virginia, by another 17,000 square feet and added vaccine efficacy testing capacity using cell-based assays and immunochemistry.

The research facility, now some 70,000 square feet, allows PPD “to support testing of attenuated, inactivated, virus-like particle, subunit, toxoid, DNA and conjugate vaccines for a variety of biopharmaceutical clients,” Bob Nicholson, SVP of PPD Laboratories, told FierceCRO.

The expansion is part of the CRO’s ongoing investments in the Richmond site. Some recent additions include those in genomics, immunochemistry and automation services.

PPD has about three decades of vaccine development experience and has helped with 15 vaccine approvals in the U.S., including for MMR, varicella, HPV, hepatitis A, influenza, rotavirus, pneumococcal pneumonia and meningitis, Nicholson said. It also announced a high-profile strategic collaboration with well-funded-yet-mysterious Moderna last January to support the biotech's clinical development of mRNA candidates, most of which are infectious disease or cancer vaccines.

The CRO started the vaccine business with assay development, which has now evolved into a comprehensive collection of assay platforms that includes molecular genomics, serology assays, cell-based and functional assays. Besides that, PPD also offers services in statistical and regulatory support for vaccines.

The vaccine lab is part of a larger, 200,000-square-foot bioanalytical lab, which hosts about 700 people and provides services such as small molecule, biologics and biomarker testing. The combined lab offers drug testing services in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, measuring in vivo ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion) of a drug, adverse drug reaction monitoring, dose escalation and ranging studies, immunogenicity and immune response.