CENTRAL LABORATORY CAPACITY
Preclinical services are not the only areas where Western CROs are expanding in China. Two CROs have recently added central
laboratory capacity as the volume of clinical studies there continues to grow.
Quintiles (Research Triangle Park, NC) opened a 7,000-sq. ft. central laboratory in Beijing. The laboratory is part of a new
17,000-sq. ft. facility where Quintiles is consolidating its Beijing clinical research services. The new laboratory is 50%
larger than Quintiles's previous operation, which was located at the Peking Union Medical College. The company said the laboratory
has 13 employees and is growing.
PPD (Wilmington, NC) is taking over from Quintiles's partnering role with Peking Union Medical College. Under the terms of
its agreement with Peking Union Lawke Biomedical Development Limited (PUL), PPD invested in laboratory equipment located at
Peking Union Medical College. PPD says the equipment is identical to its other central laboratory locations in Belgium and
the US, and that it has crossvalidated assays, making data compatible with that generated at the other laboratories. PUL will
conduct chemistry, hematology, urinalysis and hemoglobin A1c, and esoteric tests for PPD and will have rights to use the equipment
to conduct central laboratory testing for clients running clinical trials in China.
PPD joins Quintiles and Covance as major CROs with central laboratory operations in China. The PPD statement suggests that
owning a central laboratory in China may bestow a significant competitive advantage. According to the company, "Chinese law
makes it extremely difficult to export lab samples to other countries for testing," and it will save clients money because
they will be able to process samples locally rather than having to export them. If so, owning central laboratory operations
in China is more than just an opportunity to grow the business; it marks another opportunity for the largest CROs to differentiate
themselves from smaller rivals.
Jim Miller is president of PharmSource Information Services, Inc. , Springfield, VA, 703.383.4903, email@example.com