Nucleus Network expands early phase trial capacity in Australia with acquisition of Q-Pharm

11 February 2019

Nucleus Network recently announced its acquisition of Q-Pharm, a 62-bed dedicated early-phase clinical trial facility based in the Herston health precinct in Brisbane. Q-Pharm was previously wholly owned by the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. The sale was finalised on 31 January 2019.

Nucleus Network conducts early-phase trials on behalf of global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The business has experienced rapid growth in recent years, attracting an increasing number of early phase trials to Australia. In addition to its clinical unit and head office in Melbourne, Nucleus has begun to build out its on-the-ground presence in the USA, the world’s largest clinical development market.

Q-Pharm was founded in 2002 as a specialist early-phase clinical trials unit. QIMR Berghofer acquired full ownership of Q-Pharm in 2014. Q-Pharm is based at QIMR Berghofer’s premises in the Herston health precinct, which is also home to the Royal Brisbane Hospital and The University of Queensland’s medical, dental and nursing schools.

Nucleus Network CEO Cameron Johnson said, “Q-Pharm has a long and successful history of conducting complex early phase trials on behalf of the global biopharmaceutical industry in a safe and ethical manner.”

“We believe that this expertise, as well as its links with the medical research community at Herston, make Q-Pharm a natural fit with the Nucleus Network business. In particular, Q-Pharm are recognised world leaders in malaria challenge models and infectious diseases. We look forward to further building upon this capability.”

“Trials conducted by both Nucleus and Q-Pharm provide a critical step in ensuring the safety and efficacy of new drugs prior to launch into the market place. Australia is receiving growing international recognition as a location for early phase clinical trials due to the efficiency and pragmatism of its regulatory approval processes and global best practice quality of research.”

“The combination of Nucleus and Q-Pharm has created Australia’s only multi-site dedicated phase I clinical research organisation. We recognise that our customers are under pressure to meet increasingly tight participant recruitment timelines, particularly for large studies like biosimilars. We believe that the ability to offer a multi-site solution, recruiting participants more efficiently across both Brisbane and Melbourne, will give our customers a powerful competitive advantage.”

“We are committed to continuing Q-Pharm’s contribution to the medical research community and to attracting more trials to Queensland through greater investment in the company. We are excited about this important step for the broader Nucleus business and look forward to working with and welcoming the Q-Pharm team.”

“We appreciate the work of QIMR Berghofer’s management and staff in supporting the growth of Q-Pharm to its current stage. We look forward to potential research collaborations with QIMR Berghofer, particularly in the Institute’s core research areas like malaria and other infectious diseases.”

QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon, said that Q-Pharm’s operations would continue as on-site at QIMR Berghofer with the change of ownership.

“Since 2002, Q-Pharm has conducted more than 400 clinical trials and its trials are accepted by regulators in Australia, Europe, North America and Asia.

“While we have built Q-Pharm into the company it is today, third-party clinical trials are not QIMR Berghofer’s core business. For that reason, the QIMR Berghofer Council has decided that the timing is right for the Institute to capture the value it has created in Q-Pharm and put this towards funding more life-saving medical research.”

The terms of the sale remain commercial-in-confidence.

(Source: Nucleus Networks)


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