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French CRO Biotrial buys Bioanalytical Services division of Warnex

Amy Swinderman
LAVAL, Quebec—Biotrial Research SAS, a privately heldcontract research organization (CRO), recently purchased the BioanalyticalServices division of Warnex Inc., which conducts bioequivalence andbioavailability studies for clinical trials, positioning Biotrial to better servesome of the world's top generic pharmaceutical companies. 
 
The transaction is expected to close on Dec. 10 and issubject to shareholder approval. Biotrial will pay a little more than $6million for the unit as part of "a strategic move to give us a foothold intothe biomedical industry," says Matthew Konneh, director of BiotrialInternational U.K.
 
 
Founded in 1989, Biotrial has 150 beds and a staff of 250 inseveral subsidiaries in France and the United Kingdom. Running more than 80studies per year, either in its own clinics in Paris and Rennes, France, or incooperation with hospital specialists and general practitioners, the CROcurrently offers a range of early clinical research services in the areas ofsafety pharmacology, Phase I-IV studies, core laboratory work, oncology,biometrics, quality assurance and regulatory matters. 
 
"It's part of our strategy to give our clients a broad baseof services within early clinical development," Konneh says of the acquisition.
 
 
Warnex's Bioanalytical Services unit provides bioequivalentstudy analysis for new chemical entities as well as bioavailability analysis tocompare concentrations of existing drugs. Its counts among its many customerssome of the top generic pharmaceutical companies in the world, such as Dr.Reddy's Laboratories Ltd., Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., Teva PharmaceuticalIndustries Ltd. and Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc.
 
 
"For 23 years, we have worked with most of the world's top20 pharmaceutical companies. Our client base is comprised of these top pharmasand small- to medium-sized biotechnology firms as well, so we see thisacquisition as a good strategic fit," says Konneh.
 
 
The unit operates out of two facilities located in Laval andBlainville, Quebec. Biotrial will retain these facilities and their employees,and build a new clinic in New Jersey to better serve the North American market.
 
 
"There is no contemplation of making management or personnelchanges at any level," says Michael Mancini, president of Warnex BioanalyticalServices. "It's business as usual."
 
 
But the past year has been anything but status quo forWarnex, which owing to a series of divestments, is now a shell of a company.The company was founded in the late 1990s with a focus on quality controlservices, method development and validation and contract R&D. Last year,Warnex sold its Medical Laboratories and PRO-DNA Services divisions toGamma-Dynacare Medical Laboratories, one of Canada's largest providers ofmedical laboratory services, and earlier this year, Warnex sold its AnalyticalServices division to Neopharm Labs Inc.
 
 
"The Bioanalytical Services sale has been contemplated for awhile, and our board of directors considered many strategic options, includingacquiring clinics, mergers and other possibilities," says Mancini. "When thisone appeared on the scene, we determined it was in the best interest of ourshareholders."
 
 
Warnex is now considering new options for what remains ofthe company, including the possibility of a small biotech acquisition if thecompany decides to focus on R&D, says Mancini.
 
 

 
Warnex's history
 
 
With the sale of its Bioanalytical Services division toBiotrial, Warnex is now a shell of a company.
 
 
1996: Warnexcompletes junior capital pool offering with initial objective to acquire anddevelop businesses in the pharmaceutical sector.
 
1998: Warnexacquires assets of Les Laboratoires Biopharm Inc., creating what is now WarnexAnalytical Services, which offers quality control services, method developmentand validation and contract R&D.
 
 
2000: Warnexacquires Genevision technology; Warnex Research is formed to focus on thedevelopment of this DNA detection technology.
 
 
2001: Warnex createsBioanalytical Services division, which conducts bioavailability andbioequivalence studies for clinical trials, as well as contract R&D.
 
 
2002: WarnexDiagnostics is incorporated to commercialize DNA detection technology.
 
 
2004: Warnex MedicalLaboratories is formed through the acquisition of the Clinical Laboratoryassets of Adaltis Inc. The division specializes in human clinical testing,including the Prenatest prenatal screening test and the BioavailableTestoterone test.
 
 
2006: Warnexacquires PRO-DNA Diagnostics, a genetic testing laboratory, and integrates itinto the Warnex Medical Laboratories division.
 
 
Warnex Analytical Services Inc. acquires the MDS PharmaServices pharmaceutics business in Blainville, Quebec, and names new divisionNeopharm Laboratories. Neopharm Laboratories offers pharmaceutical analysis,traditional chemistry, microbiology, method development and validation,technology transfer and stability studies.
 
 
Warnex decides to divest DNA detection technology businessand focus on profitable laboratory services divisions.
 
 
2007: Warnex sellspathogen detection business to AES Laboratoire, a leading French manufacturerand supplier of laboratory equipment and supplies.
 
 
2009: Warnexacquires Molecular World Inc. of Thunder Bay, Ontario, specializing in humanDNA identification including forensic DNA testing, and changes its name toWarnex PRO-DNA Services.
 
 
2011: Warnexreorganizes operations of subsidiary Warnex Analytical Services Inc., includingthe shutdown of analytical laboratories located in Laval and consolidation allof analytical services at Neopharm Laboratories facility located in Blainville.
Warnex sells Medical Laboratories and PRO-DNA Servicesdivisions to Gamma-Dynacare Medical Laboratories, one of Canada's largestproviders of medical laboratory services.
 
2012: Warnex sellsAnalytical Services division to Neopharm Labs Inc.

Amy Swinderman

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