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Fountain Medical Development, a full-service clinical CRO in China, has forged an alliance with ICON Central Laboratories, a subsidiary of ICON plc (NSDQ: ICLR), an international CRO based in Ireland. The two companies will jointly operate a facility offering central lab services in Tianjin, where Fountain already had a facility.

Fountain was awarded the “Most Promising Company” award in the services sector at the 4th ChinaBio® Investor Forum, in December 2008. It was chosen because it was an early China CRO to demonstrate global clinical trial competence. Fountain was founded in October 2006 by Dan Zhang, MD, former head of Quintiles' China operations. The CRO was funded by DFJ Dragon and Tianjin Venture Capital.

For ICON, the Tianjin lab is the first central laboratory it has established in China, though it is the third in the Asia-Pacific region. ICON already operates facilities in Singapore and Bangalore.

The new Tianjin facility, known as ICON Central Laboratories China, comprises 3000 square feet of laboratory space. ICON emphasized that its location, just 70 miles from Beijing, is in close proximity to many clinical sites, which will expedite clinical studies.

Its services will include chemistry, hematology, coagulation, immunology and other testing services that meet study-specific requirements. The lab received CAP (College of American Pathologists) accreditation in May 2010 and is also NGSP Level I Certified.

For Fountain, the alliance will give it access to the infrastructure of an international CRO. ICON, it noted, is involved in both large global trials and China-specific tests. Fountain brings local knowledge to the partnership.

ICON positioned the partnership as furthering its need to provide central lab services in China to its existing clients. ICON’s revenues over the past 12 months approach $900 million.

Fountain offers Phase I to Phase IV clinical services, central lab services, EDC, regulatory affairs, safety handling and pharmacoeconomic services.

Disclosure: No positions

Source: ICON and Fountain Medical Forge a Mutually Beneficial Alliance