Rebranding and reaching out

Expansion, conference are milestones for Crown Bioscience

Ilene Schneider
NOTTINGHAM, U.K.—Crown Bioscience Inc., a global drug discovery and development service company, is doubling the capacity of the recently acquired PRECOS (Preclinical Oncology Services Ltd.) facility and renaming the site Crown Bioscience UK Ltd. (Crown UK). On Feb. 11, the company also held its first European symposium, detailing the use of translational platforms, including patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models, in oncology drug discovery and development.
 
The new facility, which was set to open in February, includes an 87.5-percent increase in floorspace, nearly doubling its operational footprint and encompassing both in-vitro and in-vivo capabilities. The new space enables Crown to have a dedicated technology suite to house its imaging and irradiation capabilities and to transfer two additional staff members who are currently based at the University of Nottingham, according to Dr. Jean-Pierre Wery, president of Crown Bioscience. These moves mark the completion of the PRECOS merger into the Crown organization, while the increased capacity represents a significant investment and long-term commitment to both its U.K. and European businesses, he says.
 
“Since the acquisition of PRECOS, Crown has been working to fully integrate the talents and resources of the company into the organization,” Wery adds. “These changes, in particular the opening of the new facility, will help us lead the way in the study of hormone-related cancers, as well as strengthening our position in Europe.”
 
According to Mike Prosser, executive director at Crown Bioscience, who has been appointed general manager for Europe, responsible for leading the next stage of Crown’s U.K. development and its growth in Europe, “Since the merger, investment in Crown UK has been key to the advancement of Crown Bioscience’s service portfolio, such as the development of an irradiation treatment platform for preclinical screening of drug-irradiation combination therapies. In 2015, we aim to continue our expansion of service provision, complementing the new therapeutic focus and expanded capacity of Crown UK and leveraging and supplementing Crown’s arsenal of services and capabilities.”
 
Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., Crown Bioscience has operations in China, the United Kingdom and the United States. The acquisition of Crown UK in 2013 added oncology contract research with a comprehensive range of services.
 
PRECOS Ltd. was established in 2004 as a specialist business unit by the University of Nottingham and then achieved its independence in 2010. The company focused on preclinical research and the development of services in oncology providing predictive cancer models to biotech and pharmaceutical companies. In 2013, PRECOS was acquired by Crown Bioscience.
 
As for Crown’s European symposium, that event featured Dr. Anne Vaslin-Chessex, senior scientific officer at Debiopharm International S.A; Dr. Aaron Cranston, head of in-vivo pharmacology at Mission Therapeutics; Dr. Mischa Houtkamp, senior scientist at Genmab; and Dr. Hazel Jones, head of combination therapies, Cancer Research UK. The chairman for the event was Dr. Martin Page, former global head of oncology research at Johnson & Johnson PRD. There were presentations from Prof. Gary Middleton, professor of medical oncology at the University of Birmingham; Dr. Karl Butterworth, lecturer in translational radiation biology at Queen’s University Belfast; and Dr Rajendra Kumari, chief scientific officer at Crown Bioscience UK Ltd.
 
“Due to the significant time and financial costs associated with drug discovery, the global pharmaceutical industry is increasingly focusing on the use of modeling for the purposes of evaluating effective drug candidates prior to entering full clinical trials,” according to Wery. “By fostering a greater understanding of the translational platforms available and the role of PDX models in the development of new and novel drug candidates in oncology, the symposium aims to foster a greater understanding of the considerable benefits offered by preclinical screening technology.
 
“Crown is committed to facilitating the advancement of therapeutic discovery and development in the field of oncology. PDX models offer an extremely relevant screening platform for novel treatment compounds to development companies providing significant time and financial savings. This symposium was a fantastic opportunity for experts in the academic and pharmaceutical development fields to come together to promote growth and education regarding recent advancements in the preclinical arena. We hope that conferences such as this one will allow for those working at the forefront of oncology research and development to pool their invaluable experience and knowledge of cancer drug discovery to significantly advance our understanding of the disease and how to fight it.”

Ilene Schneider

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