Boosting and complementing its DMPK

International CRO gobbles up drug transporter and drug-drug interaction specialist company

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EVREUX, France—Nonclinical contract research organization (CRO) Citoxlab Group has acquired Hungary-based CRO Solvo Biotechnology, which specializes in drug transporter studies and drug-drug interaction (DDI) assessments. The April acquisition will allow Citoxlab to add products and services in the growing field of transporters and DDI to its range of solutions marketed internationally to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, chemical and agrochemical companies.
Citoxlab Group, itself created through the merger of CiT and LAB Research in 2011, is one of the five largest nonclinical CROs, reporting consolidated sales of $167 million and a staff of 1,300 at nine sites in France, Canada, the United States, Denmark and Hungary. Citoxlab carries out studies in general and reproductive toxicology, carcinogenicity, immunology, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics. The company also offers preclinical and clinical bioanalysis and biomarker services, and provides efficacy and safety studies in medical devices for cardiological, ear/nose/throat, orthopedic and regenerative medicine.
Solvo Biotechnology was founded in 1999 and has become a prominent international leader in the rapidly growing field of drug transporter research. The investigation of the transport mechanisms has become pivotal for drug development, and transporter studies are a regulatory requirement for entering large clinical trials and for seeking marketing authorization from health regulatory agencies. Understanding a drug candidates’ transport and metabolism data is critical to identifying potential drug-drug interactions, in addition to identifying its pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and safety profile.
“The acquisition of Solvo Biotechnology will allow us to offer the most elaborated in-vitro drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) services to our customers,” said Dr. Jean-Francois Le Bigot, president and CEO of Citoxlab Group, in a joint news release announcing the acquisition. “These are fully complementary with the in-vivo DMPK studies we already provide from our sites in France, the U.S. and Canada.”
“As an example, using in-vitro human hepatocytes, the assessment of transport and metabolism is possible at a very early stage of development,” Le Bigot explained. “These investigations are increasingly included in the selection of lead candidates—in-vitro inter-species comparisons now contribute significantly to the selection of the relevant species in safety studies.”
The merger brings together companies with a similar international business focus and allows Citoxlab to expand its service offerings in strategically selected markets.
“Naturally, the international scientific reputation of the Solvo Biotechnology team, which performs more than 50 percent of its projects for U.S. customers, and the dynamism and entrepreneurship of its founder Ernö Duda—also founder of the Hungarian Biotechnology Association—were also key criteria in our decision to acquire Solvo Biotechnology,” according to Le Bigot.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Solvo will retain its brand and its approximately 100 employees headquartered in Budapest and Szeged, Hungary. “As a result of the acquisition, our clients will not notice any change in the high level of service [they] have come to expect,” said Berend Oosterhuis, chief operating officer of Solvo Biotechnology, in a company newsletter announcing the acquisition. “Similarly, there will be no immediate operational changes to the business … and all existing agreements will continue. In the long term, we look forward to harnessing the strength of this new partnership and bringing you more exciting developments in due course.”
“We are very proud that a leader like Citoxlab agreed to invest in our company,” said Duda, the president and CEO of Solvo Biotechnology, in the joint news release. “We were well aware of their reputation as a science-driven CRO, in particular for strategic decisions and also the respect they have demonstrated for the team and the culture of the companies acquired in the past. I am very confident that joining Citoxlab Group is a good opportunity for the future international development of Solvo Biotechnology and its team. We have already identified several concrete short-term scientific and business development opportunities which will allow us to offer our clients an even broader portfolio of assays.”

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