Filling in the gaps

Quintiles' acquisition of TMD rounds out its oncology service offerings

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—Looking to fill a hole or two in its service offerings, Quintiles Transnational Corp. acquired Targeted Molecular Diagnostics (TMD) of Westmont, Ill., for an undisclosed sum at the beginning of December.
By adding TMD to Quintiles' Global Central Laboratories, Quintiles strengthens its service offerings in oncology, an increasingly important growth area of drug development. In particular, it provides capabilities in tissue-based testing, considered a critical component of the modern oncology drug development process.

"When we were looking at our oncology offering, we felt we had a little gap in it, and we thought TMD filled in that gap and filled out our oncology offerings," says Tom Wollman, senior vice president of Quintiles Global Central Laboratories. "This helps give us sort of a full-service shop now. I mean, you're always looking to differentiate yourself, especially with this 'perfect storm' of financial pressures that pharma is under right now. This acquisition gets us farther upstream in clinical trials work, and TMD has a track record developing biomarkers to help get drugs approved and to market faster."

In general, TMD's biomarker technology will help Quintiles' customers better understand how their drugs work and in which populations they're most likely to perform best, which will help Quintiles in designing development programs for many of its larger pharma clients.

Wollman says that with this acquisition and further development of its service offerings, Quintiles seeks to engage in more collaborative relationships and partnerships with its clients. The company might even delve into biomarker development for development stages before clinical trials, though Wollman stresses the company is focused on clinical trials and is not at this time looking at any "pure discovery" work. He also noted that in the post-market arena, Quintiles may look into companion diagnostics.

"What we really want to do now is instead of getting an RFP and having five days to respond, we want to work with pharmaceutical companies six months earlier in designing protocol and look at feasibility and all the other things that Quintiles can do, as well as setting up the right assays in the right locations," Wollman explains.

TMD, which was founded in 2004, currently supports clinical trials for pharmaceutical and biotech companies in over 40 countries and offers more than 100 biomarker assays.

"Our team is eager to join the world's leading pharmaceutical services company," said Dr. Sarah Bacus, TMD's president and CEO, in the news release announcing the deal.

"We are dedicated to improving the survival and quality of life for cancer patients through our biomarker technologies in support of targeted therapy development. We believe the combination of our expertise in oncology combined with Quintiles' global reach will provide customers with exceptional service delivery."

Wollman notes the deal with TMD seems to have generated some ripples among other companies that could bode well for any future acquisition or partnering plans Quintiles might consider. On Dec. 17 alone, he says, the day before he was interviewed by DDN, the Quintiles M&A department had been approached by three companies looking to be acquired or to do a deal with Quintiles. DDN

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