Columbia Labs partners up for preclinical services

Columbia Laboratories CEO Frank Condella

Columbia Laboratories ($CBRX) has struck a deal with CRO XenoGesis to team up on preclinical research, pooling their resources to offer tandem early-phase services.

Under the agreement, Columbia's Molecular Profiles subsidiary will pair its development offering with XenoGesis' platform of preclinical drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) testing.

Combined, the two can help drugmakers design and advance the best preclinical compounds, rolling them into absorption studies and formulation development without time-wasting interruptions, the companies said.

"We have complementary service offerings which allow us to apply a science-driven, collective approach to overcome the complexities of challenging molecules," Columbia CEO Frank Condella said in a statement. "... For us, this will build upon the very successful drug development alliances we already have in place. We can now seamlessly offer a comprehensive service from initial drug discovery through to clinical supplies with best-in-class companies."

Partnerships like the one with XenoGesis are key to Columbia's plans for growth now that it has further evolved into a CRO.

The company's transformation took shape in September when it paid $25 million for Molecular Profiles, part of an effort to establish a revenue source after a stinging FDA rejection dimmed Columbia's prospects as a proprietary drug developer. Outside of outsourcing, the company income comes largely from royalties tied to Crinone, a fertility gel marketed by Actavis ($ACT) in the U.S. and Merck Serono overseas.

- read the statement