PPD, Inc. has officially opened its contract research facility in Athlone, Ireland, which includes an 18,000-square-foot analytical testing laboratory and clinical supplies business. The facility expands the company’s global scientific expertise, laboratory capacity and supplies network to meet growing client demand in Europe, Middle East and Africa for these services.

PPD will offer fully integrated product and analytical development services, including method development; validation; stability, release and quality control testing; and global clinical supplies services, including secondary packing, labeling and storage. The facility will also provide regulatory services, product licensing and marketed product support, including qualified person (QP) services for all drug dosage forms, with particular emphasis on inhalation and biopharmaceutical products.

The cGMP analytical testing laboratory conducts testing for clinical programs and marketed products spanning all phases of drug development and builds upon more than 20 years of PPD laboratory expertise. It joins the company’s scientific and therapeutic experience with state-of-the-art facilities and instrumentation to deliver comprehensive, best-in-class laboratory services.

“Expanding our laboratory operations into Europe enables us to continue to deliver on our strong history of providing quality work and customer service to our growing client base in this region,” said Magdalena Mejillano, vice president of laboratory services, PPD. “The Irish government, through IDA Ireland, has provided us strong support, and we continue to benefit from Ireland’s highly skilled work force and business-friendly climate. We are pleased to join Athlone’s strong, growing pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical sectors.”

The facility represents PPD’s initial investment toward continued growth of its contract research operations in Ireland, having already expanded its medical communications safety call center operations into Athlone.

PPD has already hired 21 employees in Athlone and plans to create approximately 250 jobs at the laboratory to include Ph.D.-level scientists, analytical laboratory staff and other clinical development professionals. The company is investing up to $19 million (or €14 million) to develop the facility.

Ireland’s Prime Minister, Taoiseach Brian Cowen TD supported the announcement at a news conference in Athlone earlier today where he said, “PPD’s decision to locate its world-class operations in Ireland is of great significance to this region and our country. PPD will create 250 high quality jobs in the biopharmaceutical sector and is a welcome addition to the Midlands Life Science’s cluster. I look forward to a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship between PPD and this region.”

PPD has applied to the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) for manufacturer licenses to support both investigational medicinal products and marketed products and laboratory certifications for quality control of medicinal products. As of March 1, PPD’s license applications have been assessed, and the quality system and premises inspected by the IMB. The progression of PPD’s applications are under active consideration by the IMB.