PPD sets off in Japan with SNBL joint venture

PPD and partner Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories (SNBL) have hit the ground running with their Japanese joint venture, closing a deal that will see them join forces in the country's growing market for clinical trials.

Under the deal, PPD will merge its existing Japanese clinical development operation with SNBL's research division, creating an outfit called PPD-SNBL. The American CRO will hold a majority stake in the venture, and SNBL Chairman Dr. Ryoichi Nagata will serve as its president. The combined entity employs about 400 people in the country, offering Phase I through IV services, the companies said.

Beyond the joint venture, PPD and SNBL have also agreed to collaborate on Phase I projects in Japan and the U.S., pooling resources with a focus on translational research and bridging, neuroscience, vaccines and biologics studies.

"PPD-SNBL provides biopharmaceutical clients the best of both worlds for their research programs involving Japan: PPD's global capabilities, systems and processes combined with SNBL's depth of clinical knowledge and scope in Japan," joint venture CEO Paul Colvin said in a statement. "The joint venture positions PPD at the forefront of the CRO industry in Japan and creates a compelling offering for our clients."

The venture is the latest in a string of moves through which PPD is working to expand its presence in the market. Late last year, the CRO partnered with the data collection experts at ERT, and, in September, PPD bought out the discovery-focused outfit X-Chem in an acquisition designed to bolster its early-stage capacity. In 2013, the CRO acquired technology provider Acurian to better focus on clinical trial enrollment and retention services.

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