Covance Expands Microdosing Capabilities; AMS Technology Cuts Time, Money From Drug Development

View printer-friendly version << Back

Princeton, New Jersey, November 15, 2006 — Covance (NYSE: CVD) has expanded its microdosing capabilities for drug development clients worldwide by entering into a non-exclusive agreement to obtain ultra-sensitive analysis technology with U.K.-based Xceleron. This collaboration with Xceleron, developers of accelerated mass spectrometry (AMS) technology that detects molecules at unprecedented levels of sensitivity, is a logical move, according to Mary Westrick, PhD, Global Vice President and General Manager of Clinical Pharmacology at Covance.

"We recognize the value that AMS capabilities can offer, and we've seen increased interest from our clients," she said. "The FDA's Critical Path Initiative encourages pharmaceutical researchers to pursue innovative means of reducing the time needed to bring medicines to market. Microdose studies, using AMS technology, have the potential to do just that."

Microdosing studies the behavior of compounds in vivo through the administration of doses so low they are unlikely to produce whole-body effects, but high enough to observe pharmacokinetic effect. With its more sensitive analytic detection capabilities, AMS enables in vivo microdose studies by:
  • Detecting very small, even nanogram, dosage
  • Requiring only very small biological samples for specific biochemical separations
  • Reducing overall radioisotope exposures, inventories, and waste streams
  • Enabling prediction of accurate drug pharmacokinetics at physiologic dose levels
Prior to working with Xceleron, Covance's Honolulu clinical research team pioneered the first human pharmaceutical microdose study in the United States with the drug zidovudine (AZT). This study demonstrated the feasibility of microdose technology and the excellent correlation to known pharmacokinetics of this drug.

Industry analysts estimate that only one drug candidate out of 10,000 successfully passes all of the testing required to receive approval for commercialization. "Microdosing using AMS in a small-scale, preclinical setting will enable clients to get a very early sense of a drug's pharmacokinetic properties. It can help them choose the right compounds to move forward in their research, before investing a lot of time and money," said Dr. Westrick. "AMS technology is an exciting advance in research that may enable us to cut time and cost out of drug development, and expand our role as industry innovators."

About Covance
Covance, with headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive drug development services companies with annual revenues greater than $1 billion, global operations in 20 countries, and approximately 8,000 employees worldwide. Information on Covance's products and services, recent press releases, and SEC filings can be obtained through its website at

Statements contained in this press release, which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All such forward-looking statements including the statements contained herein regarding anticipated trends in the Company's business are based largely on management's expectations and are subject to and qualified by risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, competitive factors, outsourcing trends in the pharmaceutical industry, levels of industry research and development spending, the Company's ability to continue to attract and retain qualified personnel, the fixed price nature of contracts or the loss of large contracts, and other factors described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Covance and the Covance logo are registered service marks of Covance in the United States and other countries.