PPD Forms JV to Expand Into Biologic Drug Discovery

| About: Pharmaceutical Product (PPDI)

PPD, Inc. (NSDQ: PPDI) announced a joint venture that will extend the services of its China drug discovery division, BioDuro, to include discovery of biotherapeutics. BioDuro will partner with Taijitu Biologics Limited (TBL), forming BioDuro Biologics. BioDuro plans to invest $25 million in the JV, while TBL will contribute a monoclonal antibody technology platform being developed by its partner, MAB Discovery GmbH in Munich, Germany. PPD will own a majority stake in the JV.

Stephan Fischer, Ph.D., a member of BioDuro Biologics' board of directors, is founder and co-owner of both TBL and MAB Discovery GmbH. He will be responsible for developing the technology platform, which is expected to be completed by mid-2011.

PPD said the joint venture will offer biopharma drug discovery services with the goal of discovering best-in-class monoclonal antibodies against both novel and validated targets.

BioDuro Biologics will be based in Singapore. The company said the JV will generate additional work for BioDuro, which is PPD’s drug discovery arm. It will offer additional services for antibodies discovered by the JV.

In November 2009, PPD, an international CRO, bought BioDuro, a Beijing-based pre-clinical services CRO with 660 researchers for a reported $77 million. The BioDuro acquisition was close on the heels of PPD’s purchase of another China-based CRO, Excel PharmaStudies. Excel conducts Phase II through Phase IV clinical trials in China.

"Developing a best-in-class, innovative technology platform for the discovery of monoclonal antibodies allows us to continue to deliver highly valued discovery services for our clients in the growing area of large molecule drug discovery," said Lee Babiss, PhD, executive vice president of global laboratory services for PPD.

The new technology platform will also increase the services offered by PPD’s Vaccines & Biologics Center of Excellence, an integrated network of laboratory services for vaccine and biologic drug development.

Disclosure: none.