Quintiles, a service provider in the past to Biogen, is now a partner. But just how the two companies with big Triangle footprints have structured this new deal remains unclear.

Quintiles (NYSE: Q), the world’s largest provider of life science services such as clinical trials, and pharmaceutical firm Biogen (Nasdaq: BIIB), which has a huge manufacturing facility in RTP, have formed a “collaboration” through which the two firms will develop drug candidates in Biogen’s pipeline. But neither company will discuss financial terms of the deal.

The contract is good for five years.

Asked if Quintiles could benefit financially from drugs that are developed as part of the collaboration, Quintiles would not comment. However, the agreement is described as one under which service providers and drug developers can collaborate more closely in bringing products to market.

“The intent is to build a truly seamless collaboration built on mutual trust and respect,” Quintiles spokes person Phil Bridges told WRALTechWire.

  • Inside the deal: Two RTP heavyweights draw closer as partners.

“This collaboration is significant to Quintiles on many levels. While the collaboration will allow Biogen Idec to focus on cultivating its deep scientific expertise and innovation, Quintiles will focus on operational execution and helping to advance Biogen Idec’s growing pipeline. As a result, Quintiles will be afforded more decision-making and strategic input into the clinical trial design process, moving to a more dedicated delivery model (based on predictability and visibility of pipeline).”

Biogen also will “leverage” technology and systems from Quintiles in development of its drug candidate portfolio. 

Impact on Jobs?

There may be some hiring at Quintiles for a Biogen-focused team, but Biogen plans no layoffs, according to spokesmen for the two firms.

The deal was announced early Thursday.

A Quintiles team will work directly with Biogen to design, plan and carry out Phase II-IV clinical trials and some Phase l trials, the companies said. Some projects have already begun.

Why Quintiles?

Steven Goldsmith, who handles public affairs for Biogen in RTP, said Quintiles was selected for a variety of reasons.

“As we have continued to build our research and development organization, it was important for us to identify a strong clinical development partner to complement our focus on developing innovative therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, as well as hematologic and autoimmune disorders,” he explained.

“What attracted us to Quintiles was their depth and breadth of experience, which we believe will enhance the design, planning and operational elements of our clinical programs.”

Not all of Biogen’s current development work shifts to Quintiles, he added.

“Biogen Idec has worked with several other previous service providers for this work in the past,” Goldsmith explained. “Several current late-stage studies will remain with the previous service providers with select earlier-stage trials transitioning to Quintiles. Going forward, Quintiles will conduct Phase II-IV studies and select in-patient/symptomatic Phase I studies. 

More Such Deals for Quintiles?

In a statement announcing the deal, Quintiles Chief Executive Officer Tom Pike said it “exemplifies the ongoing evolution” of how drugs are developed and how pharmaceutical firms work with service providers.

There could be similar such deals for Quintiles in the future, he added. 

“We are extremely excited about this agreement and the increased interest we are seeing for these types of innovative development deals,” Pike said. “We believe Quintiles is uniquely positioned to help our customers improve their probability of success through these collaborations, and we look forward to working closely with Biogen Idec.”

[QUINTILES ARCHIVE: Check out more than a decade of Quintiles stories as reported in WRALTechWire.]