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QPS sells neuropharma unit, expands U.S. lab

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QPS Neuropharmacology Scantox

QPS sold its Neuropharmacology unit based in Austria, seen here, to a Danish company. | PHOTO COURTESY OF QPS

NEWARK – QPS, a leading contract research organization (CRO) focused on drug development, recently divested its overseas neuropharmacology business unit while also expanding a Missouri research facility.

Headquartered in the Delaware Technology Park in Newark, QPS was founded by DuPont Pharma alum Ben Chien and a handful of employees in 1995, targeting a growing drug development pipeline that was increasingly outsourcing its studies. Today, it employs more than 250 people in Delaware and more than 1,200 around the world.

QPS Neuropharmacology, which was founded in 1999, studies the effects of drug candidates on the nervous system, aiming to develop compounds to benefit humans with psychiatric and neurological disease. It specializes in drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases, rare diseases and mental disorders.

Headquartered in Grambach in southeast Austria, QPS Neuropharmacology has more than 80 employees working at a state-of-the-art, 8,100-square-foot facility.

On Nov. 30, QPS announced that it was selling the segment to Scantox, a leading Denmark-based preclinical CRO that is focused on pharmacology and regulatory toxicology. The terms of the deal between the two private companies were not disclosed.

“The sale of QPS Neuropharmacology represents a natural transition in the development of QPS as a full-service global CRO focused on preclinical research, bioanalytical and clinical operational services. We believe the neuropharmacology unit will be strengthened and continue to grow within the Scantox organization,” said Chien, president and CEO of QPS Holdings, in a statement announcing the sale.

After the sale, QPS will retain its European clinical division, including service capabilities in Austria, Czech Republic and Croatia, where the firm has extensive experience in conducting late-stage clinical trials in neurodegenerative diseases, oncology and various rare diseases.

Meanwhile, QPS announced just days later that it had also expanded its operations in Springfield, Mo., which is one of three U.S. sites that the company operates. Since opening in 1994, QPS Missouri has conducted over 2,100 FDA-regulated studies and paid out over $35 million to as many as 50,000 local participants.

New facilities there include a clinical (safety) laboratory, an updated self-contained pharmacy, and a new dedicated space to build and ship clinical trial kits. The 2,750-square-foot facility is fully operational as of this fall and will give QPS additional flexibility in clinical research study operations.

The lab is equipped with the most up-to-date technologies for chemistry, urinalysis, serology, coagulation, and hematology testing, designed to monitor subject safety during ongoing clinical trials. The updated pharmacy now houses multiple fully certified pharmacists and compounding facilities, and the clinical trial kit facility can pick, pack and ship orders anywhere in the world, usually within 24 hours.

“QPS Missouri continues to expand and offer new services in Springfield, and the addition of a safety lab, the updated pharmacy and the clinical trial kit production area were the next steps to enhance our capabilities to provide comprehensive clinical trial services to the local Springfield community,” Brendon Bourg, QPS Missouri vice president of early phase clinical and head of administration, said in a statement. “Adding this new safety lab to our local clinical trial facility means that our physicians can receive laboratory results in real-time, adding an additional level of safety for participants. In addition, QPS can now offer these new clinical trial capabilities to our valued clients.”

Over the next few years, Bourg expects these new facilities to grow from providing services for clinical trials running in the Springfield facility to providing central laboratory, pharmacy, and clinical trial kit-building services for multi-site clinical research projects.

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