PRA amps up its biologics footprint amid industry shift

Oft-merged CRO giant PRA has expanded its large-molecule capabilities in the U.S., setting up a bioanalysis shop right next to its clinics to make for faster trials.

PRA's expansion adds immunochemistry services to its Lenexa, KS, lab, a move the company said will allow it to quickly conduct Phase I studies of biologics and other large-molecule therapies. The new operation complements PRA's full-service bioanalytical outfit in the Netherlands, and the two sites combine to make the company the only CRO in the world to colocate clinics and bioanalysis, according to PRA.

Those services are becoming more and more important as the industry continues a shift from small-molecule chemical treatments to more complicated biologic therapies, the CRO said.

"By expanding our services to large molecule bioanalysis, we can now support all types of clinical trials," PRA Executive Director Chad Briscoe said in a statement. "It is an important addition to our services because the contribution of large molecules in drug research and the development of biosimilars have increased rapidly over the past few years."

PRA touts itself as the world's fourth-largest CRO, thanks largely to the dealmaking of its private equity owner, KKR. The firm bought PRA for $1.3 billion last summer and then paid an undisclosed sum for ReSearch Pharmaceutical Services. In November, KKR picked up the early-stage-focused CRI Lifetree and merged it with PRA, creating a contract research colossus with more than 10,000 employees operating in about 80 countries around the world.

- read the statement

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