Columbia Labs inches forward in its first quarter as a CRO

Columbia Laboratories CEO Frank Condella

After numerous setbacks and transitional moves, Columbia Laboratories ($CBRX) has settled into its new identity as a CRO, closing its first full quarter of CRO revenue and plotting a brighter future.

Columbia's revenue grew 10% to $7.8 million in the fourth quarter, as $3 million in newfound service revenue propped up a 29% decline in royalties tied to Crinone, a fertility gel marketed by Actavis ($ACT) in the U.S. and Merck Serono overseas.

And, thanks to Merck Serono's unpredictability, the company said it can hardly count on a steady stream of Crinone revenue, which is where its focus on contract services comes in. In September, Columbia bought U.K. CRO Molecular Profiles for $25 million, and CEO Frank Condella said that deal will light the way for his company's future.

"This world-class provider of pharmaceutical development, clinical trial manufacturing, and advanced analytical and consulting services was a key contributor to our double-digit revenue growth, and the combined entity is benefiting from multiple synergies," Frank said in a statement. "We entered 2014 with a strong balance sheet and the right elements in place to deliver long-term revenue growth."

Columbia's shift came after a 2012 FDA rejection for its progesterone gel designed to lower the risk of pre-term births. The company laid off 42% of its staff in the ensuing months, holding onto contracts with Actavis and Merck Serono as its only sources of income.

- read the results

Suggested Articles

The money will be used to expand its footprint in both China and the U.S., including a new R&D operation in Boston.

Aetion has raised $50 million so far, and it plans to enhance its platform to support more complex therapeutic areas and expand its team.

Charles River partners with PathoQuest to offer clients NGS solutions for biologics viral contamination testing and cell-line genetic characterization.