What’s in a name?

Two contract services providers change their monikers as part of strategic shifts

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TUSTIN, Calif. & RALEIGH, N.C.—The new year is seen as a fresh start to many, a chance for resolutions and making changes, and that mindset extends into the pharma industry as well. Two companies greeted 2018 with announcements that they were changing their names to better match their change of tack in corporate strategy: Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc. is now known as Avid Bioservices Inc., and INC Research/inVentiv Health is now Syneos Health.
Avid Bioservices shared this news on Jan. 5, calling the name change “part of its transition to a dedicated contract development and manufacturing organization.” As of Jan. 8, it started trading under the new name, with “CDMO” as its new NASDAQ ticker symbol—seemingly to hammer home the change to the public, since CDMO is also the acronym for contract development and manufacturing organization.
The company describes itself as being “focused on development and cGMP manufacturing of biopharmaceutical products derived from mammalian cell culture,” with a list of services that includes cGMP clinical and commercial product manufacturing, purification, bulk packaging, stability testing and regulatory strategy, submission and support. Avid Bioservices also offers process development activities such as cell line development and optimization, cell culture and feed optimization, analytical methods development and product characterization.
“As our organization transitions to a pure-play CDMO, we believe it is appropriate to take advantage of the brand recognition that has been built within this highly specialized marketplace and to change the company’s name and conduct all future operations as Avid Bioservices,” Dr. Roger Lias, president and CEO, said in a news release. “Over the past 15 years, Avid has established a reputation for CDMO excellence built on biologics manufacturing expertise and a track record of consistently meeting and exceeding the needs of its clients. This level of quality is highlighted by Avid’s receipt of multiple 2017 Contract Manufacturing Leadership Awards for Quality, Reliability, Capabilities, Expertise and Compatibility. We look forward to continuing to build the Avid brand as we work to grow and diversify our CDMO business by providing our clients with the most sophisticated and highest-quality development and manufacturing services.”
On Dec. 11, Lias noted in a news release that Avid Bioservices had made “great progress” in its transition, pointing to the addition of “six highly qualified and independent board members since October.” The company also hired Tracy Kinjerski as its new vice president of business operations.
“We are actively planning to expand Avid’s service offerings and enhance our manufacturing infrastructure to ensure that we are offering the highest-quality services and state-of-the-art facilities to our customers … Lastly, we are in continued discussions with third parties regarding the divestiture of the company’s remaining R&D assets, and we will keep you apprised on our progress as we advance the process,” Lias explained at the time.
The name change for Syneos, announced Jan. 4, has been rather a long time in coming. The company had previously been known as INC Research/inVentiv Health, a placeholder since INC and inVentiv completed their merger on Aug. 1, 2017. That merger, according to a company news release, created “the only fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization, including an end-to-end [contract research organization] and [contract commercial organization].” The company announced at the time of the merger’s completion that it would be rebranding in 2018.
Syneos’ management team consists of Alistair Macdonald as CEO (previously CEO of INC), Greg Rush as chief financial officer (previously executive vice president and chief financial officer of INC) and Michael Bell as company president and executive chairman of the board (previously CEO of inVentiv). On Dec. 7, 2017, Michelle Keefe joined the team as well, succeeding Bell as president of commercial solutions.
“Syneos Health fully expresses our value proposition—that is, our ability to deliver integrated end-to-end solutions and create new paths for our customers to develop and commercialize their therapies,” Macdonald commented. “Unlike traditional CROs and commercialization businesses, we are knocking down walls and enabling clinical and commercial experts to work in sync by using the latest technologies, advanced business practices and the advantages of scale. Our Biopharmaceutical Acceleration Model is unique to the industry, and from this ambitious vision, Syneos Health was born.”
“As commercialization experts, we understand the importance a strong brand plays in creating differentiation, conversion and loyalty,” he added. “Our new identity reinforces our fully integrated business model, positions Syneos Health as a high-value solutions partner, and is designed to attract and retain top talent committed to shortening the distance from lab to life.”
Syneos boasts therapeutic expertise in areas such as endocrine and metabolic, cardiovascular, neurology, infectious disease, immunology and inflammation and oncology and hematology, among others. On the clinical end, Syneos offers services from bioanalytical solutions and early-phase work through late-phase and ‘real world’ work. On the commercial end, the company offers services such as branding, risk management, advertising, policy and advocacy, portfolio strategy and health economics and outcomes research.

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