09 Feb 2021

Polish expansion for UK and Ireland-based CRO adds more capability and deepens alignment with academia

A UK and Ireland-based team of scientists researching human neurological and psychiatric health conditions is strengthening links with academia by opening a fourth laboratory in Poland – just months after announcing a further expansion in the UK.

As well as marking a further growth for contract research organisation Transpharmation, the expansion also makes Transpharmation Poland the very first company to co-locate alongside University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn.

The news comes two months after the announcement that Transpharmation is to open an additional laboratory at the science park Discovery Park in Kent, England – adding to its current footprint at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and The London Bioscience Innovation Centre in London, England, and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN) in Dublin, Ireland.

The new laboratory in Poland also marks a personal milestone for Head of Operations Dr Ewa Sokolowska, who herself completed her undergraduate degree at the university and her high school education at nearby 1st Adam Mickiewicz High School. She has been overseeing pre-clinical projects at Transpharmation Ireland in Dublin for the last four years, working on behavioural pharmacology – the effects of drugs on behaviour.

Transpharmation CEO Mark Duxon said: “Poland, and especially the University, was the obvious choice for this next stage in Transpharmation’s development. This will be the third university where we have established a pre-clinical base; we know being close to scientific leaders within what is a respected veterinary school will be of exponential benefit to research on human health.

“We see Poland and the surrounding countries rising within the biotechnology and drug-discovery sector, with pharmaceutical companies moving or expanding to develop new technologies and focus on novel treatments to tackle neurodegenerative, autoimmune, cancer and other diseases affecting us all,” he said. “We feel, with Transpharmation’s track record and individual professional experiences and publication record, we can contribute to understanding in these important areas.

“In addition, with travel restrictions ebbing and flowing as we deal with the effects of Covid, having laboratories within mainland Europe, Ireland and England will give our US and Canadian partners flexible options in the future; while Poland becomes our primary centre for neuropsychiatric disorders, having our other centres means we can still support our client’s pre-clinical testing across the Transpharmation network as local restrictions on movements change.”

The creation of Transpharmation Poland will also create new jobs and new career options for students and senior scientists from the co-located veterinary school. Transpharmation is seeking a senior scientist and a research assistant in Poland in the first instance, establishing the laboratory as Transpharmation’s primary centre for neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dr Sokolowska said: “Following four years at Transpharmation Ireland, I now have this exciting challenge of establishing a new Transpharmation unit at my alma mater University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, at one of the best veterinary medicine faculties in Poland. I strongly believe that deep veterinary knowledge from academia and extensive neuroscience experience will open a completely new opportunity and benefits for research aimed at improving human health.

“The chance to return to Poland, to where I went to high school and university, alongside the company which has invested in my own development for the past four years and which I value highly, is really important to me.”

Transpharmation, which marked its 10th anniversary in 2020, provides research experiments, expertise, and data to show how potential new medicines might interact with the body and possess the ability to treat human diseases.

It has more than 100 clients internationally, already working from its England-based pain/cognition, sleep, and epilepsy centre of expertise at Discovery Park in Kent, The London Bioscience Innovation Centre and the Royal Veterinary College in London; and its neuroinflammation and molecular endpoints centre Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Dublin.

Transpharmation is led by CEO Dr Mark Duxon and Chief Scientific Officer Dr Neil Upton. Both Dr Upton and Dr Duxon consolidated their early careers with industry-leader GlaxoSmithKline, with Dr Duxon leading the firm’s Singapore research and development team looking at central nervous system disease and Dr Upton leading advanced clinical programmes. Dr Upton is the author of more than 200 scientific publications and holds various patents and non-commercial investigational new drug (IND) awards.

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