SRI sets sights on CRO growth with Virginia expansion

Research outfit SRI International is bolstering its CRO division, spending millions to stretch its capabilities and lure more drug development clients to its Virginia labs.

The nonprofit spent $2.8 million to expand SRI Biosciences, its contract research unit, adding 2,500 square feet of space for preclinical research, drug discovery and drug development programs. The addition brings its Harrisonburg, VA, R&D center to 40,000 square feet, the company said, giving it the ability to handle early-phase work, run studies on infectious diseases and develop diagnostics, among other applications.

Since its foundation, the site, dubbed the SRI Shenandoah Valley Center for Advanced Drug Research, has grown into an end-to-end clinical development lab, executive director Krishna Kodukula said, and the latest additions serve as a capstone to its well-established research capabilities.

"In 2007, a small number of SRI colleagues and I first began working in a laboratory on the campus of James Madison University, which marked the founding of our Center for Advanced Drug Research in Shenandoah Valley," Kodukula said in a statement. "Since then, due in large part to the support of the Commonwealth of Virginia and other regional partners, we have grown and established a state-of-the-art facility tackling the challenges of drug discovery and development for critical and emerging diseases."

SRI's R&D hub has also spun out a few companies of its own, including one, RioGin, that is developing technology to reduce side effects and improve efficacy in peptide drugs.

- read the statement