Global contract research organisation PPD has added significant neuroscience and ethno-bridging expertise, expanding its early development research services for its clinical research units (CRUs).

The research capabilities are aimed at broadening the company’s capabilities to provide wide access to patients and special populations at its CRUs.

PPD has added a 52-bed CRU in Orlando, Florida, US to improve its ability to conduct complex, intensive Phase I and Phase Ib early development clinical research in the field of neurology.

The CRU has conducted more than 50 Phase I studies in Alzheimer’s and other therapeutic areas of the central nervous system.

It has a track record for recruiting and conducting early phase trials in neurological indications such as Alzheimer’s disease.

PPD said that the Phase I unit comprises individual bedrooms for special patients such as elderly Alzheimer’s patients.

PPD early development vice-president Scott Dove said: “By tapping into nearby high-concentration Japanese communities, we are able to study the way this population metabolises medications and recommend alterations in safety, efficacy or dosages.

“In addition to ethno-bridging, we have expanded our distinct capabilities in neuroscience and other niche therapeutic areas to study patient populations more reflective of the products’ end-users.

“Increasing client access to special patient populations opens exciting opportunities for the development of important new therapies to address unmet medical needs.”

Furthermore, PPD’s Las Vegas CRU has expanded its portfolio of conducting Japanese ethno-bridging studies. It is a 24-bed unit specialising in endocrinology and metabolic trials.

These trials enable biopharmaceutical companies to incorporate Asian patient data simultaneously with western regions to start Phase III studies in Asian markets.

The Las Vegas CRU unit provides a controlled environment offering a culturally appropriate climate and entertainment.

In addition to its CRUs in Orlando and Las Vegas, PPD conducts early-phase studies at its 185-bed unit in Austin, Texas.