Synergy among neighbors

Quintiles acquires Expression Analysis to advance safety, efficacy and value of personalized medicine

Ilene Schneider
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—Quintiles' recent acquisitionof Expression Analysis Inc. (EA), a provider of genomics testing and analysisto biopharma, academic, government and nonprofit customers, is being describedby both parties and their customers as a "win-win-win situation." 
 
"We were looking for excellence in the genomic space andbioinformatics, as well as R&D capability, and EA played into that well,being a profitable, flexible company with a strong management team," saysThomas Wollman, senior vice president of Quintiles Global Laboratories, whichwas founded in 1982. "The addition of EA's Genomic Know-How to Quintiles isanother step forward in our efforts to bring personalized medicine intomainstream drug development. EA's expertise in genetic sequencing and advancedbioinformatics is essential to understanding diseases and drugs at themolecular level. That's a huge step in creating more value across thehealthcare spectrum."
 
 
A fully integrated biopharmaceutical services companyoffering clinical, commercial, consulting and capital solutions worldwide,Quintiles Global Laboratories is attempting to help its customers leverage thepower of genomics to better understand diseases, develop diagnostic tools anddeliver safer, more effective therapies based on the genetic makeup of thedisease and the patient. Quintiles Global Laboratories supports trialsworldwide with wholly owned facilities in the United States, Europe, SouthAfrica, India, China, Singapore and Japan, and a tightly coordinated network ofaffiliate laboratories in Argentina and Brazil. All Quintiles laboratoriesoperate with uniform instrumentation and standard operating procedures. Thecompany helps biopharmaceutical companies develop and commercialize products toimprove and lengthen patients' lives while demonstrating value to stakeholders.
 
Interestingly, Quintiles, which has 25,000 professionals in60 countries, didn't have to look far to make the acquisition. EA, which hasabout 77 employees, has offices based three miles away from Quintiles. Offeringa broad range of services across multiple platforms, EA provides whole-genometo focused-set gene expression and genotyping assays, along withnext-generation sequencing services, sequence enrichment technologies andbioinformatics support.
 
 
"The whole process is a dream come true for us," says Steve McPhail,EA's president and CEO. "This is the right move for our customers, vendors andemployees. Our mission perfectly fits Quintiles' strategy to use genomic dataand advanced informatics to yield actionable insights and more effectivepersonalized treatments. The combination will facilitate worldwide access toresources and expertise to drive improvements in the diagnosis, treatment andmanagement of complex disease by moving genomic testing into clinical trials.EA can now play a global role in helping biopharma succeed in the New Health.We're seeing our vision become a reality."
 
According to Jeffrey Spaeder, Quintiles' chief medical andscientific officer and a cardiologist by training, the acquisition of EA, oneof many recent buys for Quintiles, fits into the company's strategy to addresspersonalized medicine. As he explains, "there has been a change in the risktolerance of regulators, payors and patients. Now we have to maximize theefficacy and safety of clinical trials while also targeting patients in a waywhere the therapy will show value." 
 
Describing these needs as "the new normal," Spaeder saysthat clinical studies need to address "the regulatory pathway and what payersare concerned about in treating a particular population" and "make sure wedemonstrate that a given therapy has value to payers." Specifically, thatrequires knowledge about molecular and cellular pathways and interactionsbetween them to understand why therapies work on certain patients, but notothers, a method to translate that understanding into a way to stratifypatients globally and an application to incorporate metrics into clinicalstudies. 
 
Spaeder believes that molecular and cellular pathways arequantifiable, but how to tap into patients is another component of personalizedmedicine. Quintiles will be looking at how to share, reduce and mitigate risksfor end users by "showing what patients a drug is useful for," how to identifythose patients, "how to deliver the most bang for the buck" and how to get thegreatest value.
 
"EA, with its emphasis on genomics, will help us to stratifypatients in the future," Spaeder concludes. "That will be especiallysignificant for oncology, autoimmune and infectious diseases."

Ilene Schneider

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