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ICON announces collaboration with Trust to develop new translational medicine unit

ICON plc, a global provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries, today announced that it has signed a collaborative agreement with the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to develop a purpose built translational medicine facility.

The new facility will form part of an ambitious expansion plan being undertaken by the Trust to develop the existing Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) campus. This re-development plan has already delivered Britain's largest children's hospital, which opened earlier this month. The remainder of the campus development is due for completion by April 2012 and will house an ICON-designed state-of-the-art Translational Medicine Unit.

In the interim period ICON will transfer its current clinical pharmacology services into dedicated clinical research facilities on the MRI site. Commenting on the announcement, Dr Thomas Frey, President, ICON Development Solutions, said "We are delighted to be collaborating with the Trust and the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre to continue to develop the region as an international centre of excellence in translational medicine. Moving to a hospital-based setting also meets the needs of our customers who are increasingly looking to run their first-in-human studies in hospital environments."

Mike Deegan, Chief Executive of the Trust added: "Our aim is to build upon our investments in facilities and high calibre clinical academic staff to consolidate our reputation as a leading international research hospital. This exciting new collaboration with ICON is a major step for the Trust and will accelerate the translation of research discoveries into new medicines . We look forward to working with the highly regarded ICON team"

Researchers at the National Institute for Health Research Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), which is based at the Trust, will also work with the ICON team. BRC Director Prof Phil Baker said: "Our focus is on translating new discoveries made in the lab into direct benefits for patients. Access to a major clinical trials facility on site is the final part of the equation, and we are excited by the opportunity of working with ICON colleagues. This will give our researchers a direct pathway to take their initial biomedical research work and develop it into proven treatments and technologies ready for use with patients."

The Trust is a member of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) which is one of only five centres designated by the Department of Health as a centre of excellence in applying health research and education into healthcare. Through the collaboration ICON will share expertise and has access to the facilities of the other NHS members and The University of Manchester. Commenting on the collaboration, Linda Magee, Chief Operating Officer, MAHSC said: "ICON is one of MAHSC's selected industry partners and we are delighted they are developing their facilities with one of the MAHSC members. As well as ICON's complementary capabilities in clinical trials, we greatly value their commitment and contribution to education and training for clinical academics."

Dr Allison Jeynes-Ellis, Medical and Innovation Director at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: "This is an example of the type of collaboration between industry, academia and the NHS that the ABPI is seeking to encourage and which we believe will help drive forward translational medicine, building on the strength of the pharmaceutical, science and clinical base in the UK."