​A New York company that sells biospecimens and related services, primarily for drug safety testing, has purchased Durham’s Qualyst Transporter Solutions (QTS) for an undisclosed sum.

BioIVT, formerly BioreclamationIVT, is headquartered in the Manhattan suburb of Westbury. The buyer said Qualyst will retain its existing headquarters in Durham.

Qualyst was founded in 2002, licensing its technology from Kim Brouwer’s lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It relaunched under the Qualyst name with new investors in 2012.

Qualyst provides in vitro (lab-based) hepatic (liver) cell models and services that predict the effect of drugs and other compounds on the human liver in the pharmaceutical, chemical, consumer products, and cosmetics industries.

Qualyst originally received a $13,000 loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in 2003, and the following year the Center awarded UNC a Collaborative Funding Grant of $57,000 to help develop the technology. The Center also provided Qualyst with a $133,750 Small Business Research Loan in 2006.

The 17-employee company has become profitable and grown more than 100 percent since 2012.

BioIVT. CEO Jeffrey Gatz said in an interview, “Qualyst uses a unique cell-based testing approach to predict compound clearance, drug-drug interactions, and toxicity in the human liver. In fact, it established the industry standard for hepatocytes; its Transporter Certified hepatocyte program ensures that cells, under defined culture conditions, maintain physiologic transporter uptake and efflux levels which are critical for normal function.”

In a previous interview with NCBiotech, Graham Dyck, QTS director of commercial strategy and marketing, said, “We have demonstrated we are superior in predicting how the liver will clear a compound compared to traditional models.”

BioIVT. teamed with Qualyst in June 2017 to market its Transporter Certified cryopreserved human hepatocytes. Gatz said in an interview, “That was certainly a contributing factor in our acquisition of Qualyst Transporter Solutions. In addition, they fit well with our strategic initiative to expand our portfolio of products and services which advance drug metabolism and toxicology research.”

BioIVT. says it offers high quality, consistent human and animal hepatocyte and subcellular products to advance drug metabolism and toxicology research. It provides the largest and most diverse hepatocyte inventory to researchers in this field.

Gatz said BioIVT.serves more than 30,000 clients globally, “and many of them reside in the Triangle area.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to grow this business, but at this point, the operations team will remain the same,” he added.

“There is an increasing global demand for in vitro models that can better predict a new drug candidate’s likely impact on the human body,” said Gatz. “The goal is to increase the accuracy and efficiency of the drug discovery and development process.”

“Our clients are looking for more comprehensive answers to their ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion toxicity) questions and also seeking integrated models that can provide them with a greater understanding of pertinent disease states. Our Qualyst acquisition will enable us to meet those needs.”

“BioIVT.is making a series of strategic mergers and acquisitions to broaden its portfolio. The Qualyst acquisition further strengthens its ADME-toxicology product line and its position as a trusted resource for researchers exploring the safety and efficacy of therapeutics,” said BioIVT. Chairman David Spaight. “It also brings additional intellectual property to the company including three patents and two patent applications.”

The Qualyst transaction closely follows BioIVT.’s August 10 acquisition of Asterand Bioscience, a global provider of human tissue and research solutions focused on the oncology market.

Gatz added, “We are in growth mode currently and are looking at a number of acquisitions that fit within our corporate strategy. Historically, we have been a biospecimens provider. However, we see an opportunity to offer our clients select value-added services that provide more clinically-relevant data and allow for better predictions about the safety and efficacy of therapeutic compounds.”

(C) N.C. Biotechnology Center