PPD Expands China Presence with Central Lab in Beijing

| About: Pharmaceutical Product (PPDI)

PPD, Inc. (NASDAQ:PPDI), a $5.3 billion CRO headquartered in Wilmington, NC, will expand its presence in China, opening a global central lab services unit in Beijing in conjunction with Peking Union Lawke Biomedical Development Limited [PUL].

Presently, PPD has central labs in Brussels, Belgium, and Highland Heights, KY. The Beijing lab is closely coordinated with these two facilities and will offer the same services.

The goal of the Beijing lab is to serve clients in China, rather than to provide low-cost outsourcing to Western biopharmas. This point was implied by Agostino L. Fede, Ph.D., senior vice president of PPD and head of PPD's global central labs in a statement: "Chinese law makes it extremely difficult to export lab samples to other countries for testing," he said.

To facilitate setup of the lab, PPD established a relationship with PUL, investing in laboratory equipment that is installed in PUL’s facility in the Beijing Zhong Guan Cun Life Sciences Park in Beijing. Because the equipment in Beijing has been cross validated and calibrated with PPD’s existing equipment, all lab data is combinable, no matter which lab produced it. When not being used for PPD work, PUL has the option to use the equipment for its own experiments.

The lab will be led by Jian Ho, M.D., Ph.D., medical director at PUL. PPD will lead project management and investigator services and help clients with study setup. PUL will conduct chemistry, hematology, urinalysis and hemoglobin A1c tests to support PPD's clinical trials business in China.

In October 2007, PPD realigned the organization of its CRO services, establishing for the first time a vice president of clinical operation for Asia. Simon J. Britton was named as the first person to the post. Previous to the new central lab, PPD had opened facilities in Beijing and Hong Kong, plus India, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia.

PPD has offices in 30 countries and more than 10,000 professionals worldwide. In the last 12 months, PPD reported earnings of $163 million on revenues of $1.3 billion.

Disclosure: none.