Struggling Cardiome recruits Quintiles to handle heart drug

Cardiome ($CRME) has been on the ropes since Merck ($MRK) ditched plans to develop an oral form of the atrial fibrillation drug Brinavess, but the biotech isn't giving up, signing on with Quintiles to expand the intravenous version's European reach.

Merck is in the process of transferring all the Brinavess rights back to Cardiome, and the company isn't wasting any time, enlisting Quintiles to provide post-marketing lifecycle safety and global regulatory affairs services. Cardiome slashed 85% of its staff in July when Merck ditched its development program, so recruiting Quintiles' team of experts will go a long way in supporting commercialization, interim Cardiome CEO William Hunter said.

"Finding a highly capable service provider to deliver operational regulatory and pharmacovigilance support was a key priority to effectively and expeditiously transfer the registered marketing authorizations from Merck to Cardiome," Hunter said in a statement.

Worth noting: A great many outsourcing deals go undisclosed by their biotech sponsors, so it's no coincidence that Cardiome announced to the world that it's employing the largest CRO on the planet to right the Brinavess ship. The company has plummeted to penny-stock territory over the past year, and aligning itself with Quintiles is a sign to investors that it's not giving up on its sole on-the-market drug.

- read Cardiome's statement

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