Indian CRO GVK Biosciences is expanding its capacity in early-phase R&D, buying a local preclinical testing outfit as it works to expand its reach.
The company has signed a deal to acquire Chennai's Vanta Bioscience for an undisclosed sum, targeting a provider of toxicology and safety assessments. Vanta boasts an FDA-accredited preclinical facility, GVK said, and a staff of researchers with experience getting drug candidates into the IND stage. Beyond its work in biotech, Vanta has clients in medical devices, cosmetics, agriculture and food, according to GVK.
For the fast-expanding GVK, the deal comes on the heels of a buyout of California's Aragen Bioscience in February, which shepherded the CRO into the U.S. and into biologics development. And while the company has been focused on its clinical operations for much of this year, GVK hasn't left behind its early-stage capacity, and the Vanta deal will bolster its preclinical know-how, CEO Manni Kantipudi said.
"The acquisition is in line with our business strategy of being an integrated drug discovery services provider for our customers," Kantipudi. "We are constantly investing in upgrading our capabilities to provide world-class R&D services."
Meanwhile, GVK is still working to get back into regulators' good graces after facing allegations that some of its employees tampered with clinical trial results. In the spring, French authorities examined 9 trials conducted at GVK's Hyderabad clinical outpost and discovered that the CRO's workers repeatedly switched out patient ECG scores with those of healthy volunteers. GVK says it has met with regulators, submitted detailed corrective plans and received the green light to move ahead, hoping to put what it calls an isolated issue in the rear-view mirror.
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