Crown Bioscience boosts oncology offerings

Company expands site and services at San Diego Center of Excellence for Oncology

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SANTA CLARA, Calif.—This summer, Crown Bioscience expanded its oncology services with new models, cell lines and assays at its Center of Excellence for Oncology in San Diego to include a range of platforms for the evaluation of immuno-oncology programs, while also adding new technologies for traditional oncology agents. Additionally, CrownBio has introduced a broad portfolio of highly characterized syngeneic in-vivo services and expanded its flow cytometry laboratories to support both syngeneic and humanized patient-derived xenograft (PDX) studies.
Crown Bioscience is a wholly owned subsidiary of Crown Bioscience International and a global drug discovery and development services company providing translational platforms to advance oncology and metabolic disease research.
“Following the recent investment in our U.S. site, we now have the capability to offer a significantly extended range of services, from in-vitro screening to later-stage translational studies, including avatar clinical trials (HuTrials) with humanized NSG xenografts to evaluate the efficacy of anticancer immunotherapy before entering the clinic,” said Mike Prosser, CrownBio’s general manager of European and North American operations.
Other new developments include new PDX-derived cell lines to enrich the company’s PrimePanel collection with primary cells from Caucasian, pretreated and metastatic tumor samples to help evaluate traditional oncology agents and expanded 3D-tumor growth assays for most indications to provide translational in-vitro models aligned to the tumor microenvironment.
“These new services will allow us to provide our clients, leading global biopharmaceutical companies, with local access to a range of platforms, including advanced models that more accurately reflect tumor microenvironments, thereby offering better screening tools for evaluating innovative oncology drug candidates,” said Dr. Jean-Pierre Wery, CEO of CrownBio.
The company has also physically expanded its San Diego location, with an enlarged 22,000-square-foot facility that more than triples CrownBio’s original capacity at the site. The expansion added multiple holding rooms and dedicated procedure and formulation space. USDA-certified facilities, fitted with Biosafety Level 2 environmental controls, allow for handling of viral agents for oncolytic virus studies.  By enabling scientists to isolate and compartmentalize incoming projects, including separate suites for work with infectious agents, and the ability to separate immunocompetent and immunodeficient models, CrownBio says it has significantly enhanced its immuno-oncology capabilities. 
“By expanding our U.S. Center of Excellence for Oncology, we have enhanced both our capabilities and capacity, to meet the increased demand for the types of oncology research critical to public health,” said Dr. Jean-Pierre Wery, CEO of CrownBio.
“This expanded San Diego facility will enable CrownBio to continue to offer our clients the timelines and responsiveness they demand, and at the same time allow us to optimize resource and capacity management in the U.S.,” added Prosser. “By creating a single Center of Excellence in North America, we can now deliver the highest-quality research from a truly state-of-the art facility.”
Adding to its forward momentum, in August CrownBio announced the  appointment of Drs. Amar Thyagarajan and Sandeep Sinha to its team. Thyagarajan, who is responsible for the strategic and scientific marketing of CrownBio’s cardiovascular and metabolic disease (CVMD) portfolio, joins CrownBio as the associate director of product marketing and strategy.  With a doctorate in neuroscience at the State University of New York at Albany, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in neuroscience and chemical biology, he brings to CrownBio extensive scientific and senior product management experience with genetically engineered models used in neuroscience and CVMD drug discovery and safety and toxicology studies.
Sinha, too, comes to CrownBio well established, with a doctorate in biochemistry from Aligarh Muslim University in India and previous experience as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in the endocrine division, as well as several other universities. He joins the team as scientific director responsible for providing direction to CrownBio’s technical teams to build better partnerships with clients to execute successful CVMD programs—previously, he worked at Eli Lilly as a medical science liaison for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 
“With Amar’s acumen for developing market strategies, he will enhance our marketing communications and presence for our growing line of CVMD models and services to support drug development,” said Laurie Heilmann, senior vice president of global strategy, marketing and business development at CrownBio. “CrownBio is committed to hiring experienced and knowledgeable industry leaders to advance our CVMD services to benefit our clients, and we are pleased to add these talented individuals to our team.”

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