Dalton Pharma opens new service division

Randall C Willis
STORY UPDATE
TORONTO—March 23, 2007—Months after announcing the formation of its new Medicinal Chemistry division, Dalton Pharma Services announced the signing of a new services agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim Canada. The deal will see the Canadian company design and synthesize novel compounds for unspecified antiviral targets.
 
 
TORONTO—Looking to offer a wider spec­trum of services to its customers, Dalton Pharma Services recently announced the formation of a joint venture—Dalton Medicinal Chemistry Partners—with sea­soned pharmaceutics veteran Dr. Judd Berman. In doing so, the company hopes to carve out a greater portion of the pharma­ceutical outsourcing market that is expected to reach $42 billion by 2010, according to recent research by Kalorama Information.
 
For Dalton, the move is a natural step in the company's progression from chemical supplier to service provider.
 
"In the early days of our company, when we were successful in identifying a lead compound to put into clinical develop­ment, we did not have the capabilities of GMP manufacture to take the product along the development path," says Peter Pekos, Dalton Pharma Services president and CEO. "In 1995, we were fortunate to have relation­ships with larger pharma companies, which helped us implement GMP manufacturing at Dalton. As a result, our chemistry business focus broadened considerably."
 
Berman comes to Dalton with experience at companies like Merrell Dow, GlaxoSmithKline (and its progenitors), and most recently, Toronto-based anti-infectives spe­cialist Affinium Pharmaceuticals. Pekos expects Berman's experience in drug discovery using medicinal chemistry and his extensive track record in identifying and optimiz­ing lead compounds to provide invaluable synergies with Dalton's history in providing pharmaceuti­cal chemical services.
 
"I am delighted to be working with the talented team at Dalton Pharma Services," Berman said in a prepared statement. "Peter [Pekos] has established strong working relationships with clients and I look forward to adding value to these as well as establishing selected new relationships aimed at the advancement of novel chem­ical entities for development."
 
"We each have had exposure to different overall discovery and development projects and this diversity of molecules that our teams and Judd have been exposed to enhance the opportunities to design novel structures that will have the right activity profile," Pekos adds. "It increases innova­tion among the chemistry team and offers our partners access to expanded capabilities."
 
Pekos also sees the new opera­tion as an opportunity to reverse the recent trend in the pharmaceu­tical industry of off-shoring medic­inal chemistry to less expensive jurisdictions.
 
"While there are potential issues around IP and communication, there has been, over the last twenty years, an increased recognition in these countries that they need to provide tighter control over IP if their industries are to grow and flourish," he says. While Dalton has a good track record for deliv­ering, he adds, the company felt it needed to differentiate itself in other ways that are more difficult to overcome by overseas resources.
 
At least initially, Dalton Medicinal Chemistry Partners will capitalize on the parent company's existing and expandable facilities in Toronto, and its emphasis will be on the North American market, where it can interact within similar time zones with key collaborators.
 
"By setting up Medicinal Chemistry as we have," Pekos says, "we intended to signal a new way of doing business and it would allow us to attract new partners and additional talent to bolster our own internal molecular design capabilities."

Randall C Willis

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