"Clinically predictive preclinical efficacy testing services at your disposal"

Jussi Halleen - CEO, Pharmatest Services


Pharmatest was founded in 1998 as Cell Test Turku Ltd, a spin-off enterprise by a group of senior researchers with decades of expertise in bone research from the Universities of Oulu and Turku, Finland. The company's first core products were proprietary bone cell assays developed by the founders and designed for in vitro efficacy research.

In the next years osteoporosis animal models and later animal models of cancer-induced bone disease and osteoarthritis were added to the service portfolio. In 2002 Pharmatest moved to its own facilities and became completely independent from the university support. Since then Pharmatest has grown rapidly in terms of revenues, employees and services offered.

At the end of 2009 Pharmatest performed carefully planned strategic mergers with two small Finnish CROs, Orthotopix Ltd and Genolyze Ltd. From Orthotopix Pharmatest obtained orthotopic cancer models that complemented our then existing cancer metastasis models, and models of hormone action that are applicable not only for preclinical drug research but also for safety testing of chemicals according to the requirements of the new EU-regulatory framework REACH. The merger of Genolyze brought in full bioinformatics capabilities that now provide our customers added value in every facet of our operations.

The merger of Orthotopix in 2009 also brought in two then ongoing EU- and Finnish government funded R&D projects that were performed in collaboration with customers. The projects included development of new preclinical test models for Orthotopix/Pharmatest and using the models for identifying new drug candidates of the customers. Both projects were successfully finalized by the end of 2011, and patent applications have now been filed for the identified drug candidates. Pharmatest expects to get major royalty and milestone payments from the partners in the coming years when the drug candidates are developed and licensed/sold further.

During 2009 – 2010 Pharmatest also established a biomarker unit that offered biomarker measurement services and new biomarker method development services, and obtained patents and technology related to a FISH-based cancer biomarker NAV3 through the merger of another small Finnish company CliniXion Ltd. The strategy of Pharmatest was changed at the end of 2011 to concentrate all focus on offering preclinical efficacy services, and the biomarker unit and NAV3 patents were sold to Valirx Plc.

Today Pharmatest looks into the future with strong optimism in the changing pharma environment where the trend of outsourcing is increasing, with an increasing focus on identifying bad hits as early as possible to avoid costly attrition later on in the drug development process. It is our firm goal to become the leading provider of specialized preclinical disease models and efficacy-related research services. Our mission is to make sure that our customers' drug discovery will be faster, cheaper and more effective by providing them with reliable and clinically predictive tools for lead validation and lead optimization.