Research center acquires drug-testing company


MPI Research in Mattawan is an early stage development organization serving multiple industries Courtesy MPI Research

A research organization in the region has acquired a clinical trials company to create a “one-stop” resource for the drug-development industry.

MPI Research in Mattawan, a early stage development organization serving multiple industries, said this week that it has acquired the clinical research company Jasper Clinical Research & Development in Kalamazoo to expand its capabilities to include human phase I testing.

The acquisition included the 25,000 square foot, three-story Jasper Clinic located on the downtown Kalamazoo campus of Bronson Hospital.

The 50-bed clinic is connected to Bronson’s Level 1 trauma center and provides a variety of early stage study services, such as drug interaction and methodology studies and integrating pharmacogenetics and biomarkers.

Long-time partners

Roger Hayes, SVP and general manager of laboratory sciences at MPI Research, said the organization and Jasper Clinic have been collaborating for more than a decade on a wide range of projects, which led to the acquisition.

“A formal partnership made a lot of sense at this stage, because it makes MPI Research the leading ‘one-stop’ resource for the early drug development community and gives Jasper new resources to build on its capabilities — from candidate selection in discovery, through pre-clinical safety assessment, proof of distribution imaging studies, and now clinical trials,” Hayes said.

“The important takeaway here is this was a logical next step for both organizations. We believe for sponsors that ability will be very appealing."

Drug developers

Originally established in 1984 within the phase I testing unit of The Upjohn Co., Jasper Clinical Research & Development became an independent operation in 2003 and is known for providing early stage human clinical testing of potential new drugs.

William Parfet, CEO and chairman of MPI Research, said Jasper has an outstanding reputation within the drug-development community.

“It gives our company the opportunity to further strengthen our collaborative relationships with other life science organizations located in the immediate vicinity — including Bronson Methodist Hospital and the new Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine — as we work together to advance therapies that improve lives,” Parfet said.

With the partnership and added capabilities, Hayes said MPI Research will be able to offer services for new drug candidates, while providing bio-pharmaceutical and medical device companies with the opportunity to move their drugs and devices more efficiently along the development pipeline.

Dean Knuth, founder of Jasper Clinic, said the formal collaboration is an exciting opportunity for Jasper to become part of a contract research organization, offering bench-to-bedside services.

“The close proximity to the bio-analytical laboratories at MPI Research will greatly enhance our ability to provide quick turnaround services, particularly with first-to-file opportunities for those generic drug sponsors performing bio-equivalence studies,” Knuth said.

New staff

As the two organizations merge, Knuth will serve as the new executive director of clinical research and continue to play a key role in the operations of clinic, while overseeing the growth of the business, according to Hayes.

Teri Nizzardini, senior director of human resources at Jasper, said the company is excited to integrate more than 80 staff members into the MPI Research team.

MPI growth

The acquisition of Jasper is the second major service expansion for MPI Research this year.

In September, the firm broke ground on the Translational Imaging Center, along with partners inviCRO and 3D Imaging.

With the new facility and acquisition of Jasper, MPI said it will have the ability to guide drug candidates from the earliest conceptual stages through clinical trials.

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