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Certara continues growth by acquisition

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Certara, which offers biosimulation for drug development, has just acquired the UK-based consultancy XenologiQ, which specialises in quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP). In a separate move at the same time, it has also released version 15 of its Simcyp population-based simulator software -- a physiologically based pharmacokinetic modelling and simulation platform that assists in dose selection and informs product labelling.

The acquisition of XenologiQ is the latest in a series of acquisitions by which Certara has grown since its formation in 2008 by the merger of Tripos International, which provided drug discovery informatics products and services, with the Pharsight Corporation, which offered software, strategic and regulatory services to optimise clinical drug development.

In 2012, it acquired Simcyp Limited, whose software could model and predict the fate of drugs in virtual populations. In 2013, it boosted its early drug development capacity by the acquisition of Great Lakes Drug Development. This year, ahead of the XenologiQ acquisition, it had taken over ClinGenuity, the only artificial intelligence-assisted medical writing service in the pharmaceutical industry, and merged its consulting group, Pharsight Consulting Services, with Quantitative Solutions, an international pharmacometrics consulting company.

Piet van der Graaf, who is currently professor of systems pharmacology at Leiden University in the Netherlands and a director of XenologiQ, will become Certara’s vice president of QSP and lead the new Simcyp QSP organisation. Van der Graaf is a global authority on the subject of quantitative systems pharmacology, which combines computational modelling and experimental methods to examine the mechanistic relationships between a drug, the biological system, and the disease process.

QSP helps to draw a map of biological networks and identify hot spots that need to be hit simultaneously to generate the desired effect. It shows researchers what combined effects a successful drug candidate needs to have and can assist in identifying the best dose and combination of drugs for an individual based on their own phenotypic traits.

Certara has also released version 15 of its Simcyp Population-based Simulator today. It links in vitro data to in vivo ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic outcomes to help explore potential issues prior to clinical studies. For example, it can be used to determine first-in-human dose selection, predict drug-drug interactions (DDIs), understand drug disposition in special populations, including paediatrics, and bridge to virtual ethnic populations.

The Simcyp whole body simulation methodology can predict the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of small molecule and biological medicines using laboratory-derived data. The simulator includes a unique set of genetic, physiological and epidemiological databases that facilitate the simulation of virtual populations of differing demographies and ethnicities.

‘Our work provides a framework for assessing inter-individual variability in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics using virtual human populations and integrating general knowledge of the physical chemistry of a drug with human biology, anatomy, physiology and genetics,’ said Simcyp President Steve Toon.