Covance partners up for biologics safety testing

As regulators the world over clamp down on biologics development, Covance ($CVD) has struck up a partnership with Pathoquest to offer next-generation sequencing-based tests for biotherapeutics.

Through the deal, Pathoquest will bring its expertise in detecting viral contamination in biologics to augment Covance's existing biosafety capabilities and regulatory know-how, giving the smaller company a global scale for its services and providing the CRO giant access to technology that could become a new industry standard, Vice President Raymond Kaiser said.

"This collaboration will provide Covance clients with a high-quality solution to the critical problem of viral contamination of biologics during development and in released product," Kaiser said in a statement. "As a cutting-edge company in the field of NGS-based virus identification, Pathoquest's capability dovetails perfectly with our (chemistry, manufacturing and control) analytical solutions to provide our clients access to the latest technology and patients with safer medications."

Traditionally, biosafety tests entail screening for a discrete, predetermined list of viruses, a method that can neglect swaths of contamination risks. Using sequencing technology, however, investigators can identify any and all viral agents in a single analysis, minimizing false negatives and saving time and money, the companies said.

Covance has been riding an increase in demand for its services over the past 6 months, using a booming late-stage development business to offset continuing flatness in its early research segment. Last quarter, the New Jersey-headquartered CRO grew revenue 11.4% to $606.7 million to hit $44.2 million in net income, a 16.9% increase over the previous year.

- read the announcement

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