Frontage Laboratories: A Drug Development Partner, Turning Services into Solutions

Dr.Song Li | Founder | Frontage Laboratories

CRO (Contract Research Organization) is an essential partner for the biotech, pharmaceutical and MedTech companies in order to support their customers’ attempt of developing, testing, refining and marketing the improvised medical and pharmaceutical related products.

In order to enhance the full-service capabilities of organizations, CRO marketplace has become quite competitive. Though markets are filled with many such CROs yet merely few have experienced the taste of success. Among various such CROs, Exton, Pennsylvania-based organization, Frontage Laboratories stands tall in this ever-evolving sector. It is a unique platform which provides its comprehensive services for the development of the relative industry. In an interview with CIO Look, Dr. Song Li, the Founder of Frontage Laboratories has shed a light on the interesting facts about the platform, and also provided a detailed information about the cutting-edge solutions which the company offers.

Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Dr. Song Li and CIOLOOK:

Give a brief overview of your company, its uniqueness and its vision. 

Frontage Laboratories, Inc. is a CRO that provides integrated, science-driven, product development services throughout the drug discovery and development process to enable pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to achieve their development goals. Comprehensive services include drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, analytical testing and formulation development, preclinical and clinical trial material manufacturing, bioanalysis, preclinical safety and toxicology assessment, and early phase clinical studies. Frontage has enabled many biotechnology companies and leading pharmaceutical companies of varying sizes to advance a myriad of molecules through development and file regulatory submissions in the United States, China and other countries.

Describe your company’s cutting edge solutions, which address all the needs of your customers. 

We benefit greatly from having operations in both the United States and China (the two largest markets for CRO services in the world), and are well placed to capture growth opportunities in both markets. Our “Two Countries, One System” approach is integral to our commitment to maintain high quality standards. This approach assures our customers the same quality standards, operating procedures and systems in both China and the United States, whilst also providing our customers with a detailed and highly experienced understanding of the regulations and requirements for drug discovery and development in both countries. This approach enables us to be a partner of choice for companies with multinational requirements or companies that need support for parallel submissions with the US FDA and China FDA.

Give a detailed description of the featured person’s influence over the company and the industry. 

Dr. Song Li founded Frontage Laboratories in 2001 with the ambition of building a client-focused organization to help solve the most complex drug development challenges. Prior to Frontage, Dr. Li held management positions at Great Valley Pharmaceuticals and Wyeth. During this time, he led numerous projects related to the development of pharmaceutical products. Dr. Li has authored more than 15 scientific publications spanning a wide range of topics, including chiral separations, drug-protein interactions, pharmacokinetics, and analytical chemistry. Importantly, Dr. Li has been the recipient of numerous awards, most recently Healthcare CEO award from Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the ‘Realizing the American Dream’ award from the Pennsylvania Welcoming Society, and the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award from the AABDC. Dr. Li earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in analytical chemistry from McGill University and a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Zhengzhou University in China.

How does your services differ from the other companies’ offerings? 

New developments in immunotherapies, gene and cell therapies, and antibody-drug conjugates are continuously contributing toward the growth of biologics. With the ever-expanding biologics market, CROs not only need to support standard pharma and biotech drug platforms for projects like small molecule and therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, but also novel therapies using novel platforms for gene and cell therapy as well. While these novel platforms support a wide array of pharma projects, they are technically challenging. In order to successfully take on these drug development projects, CROs require a broad array of highly-trained specialized scientists and new technologies and instrumentation.

What technologies are you leveraging to make your solutions resourceful and bringing advancement in the industry? 

Leveraging its strong scientific and management expertise, the company is committed to provide the highest quality for each project. Over 70 percent of the company’s scientific staff have advanced degrees. The team provides the required knowledge on utilizing novel pharma tools in the most creative way to its clients in order to help companies deal with complex challenges such as issues in drug formulation, bioanalysis and data interpretation. The company’s focus on technical and scientific excellence helps them to form strong, long-term relationships and partnerships with the customers.

Describe the experiences, achievements or lessons learned that have shaped the journey of the company. 

Frontage Laboratories’ varied services include Discovery services such as Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK), PK/PD and Lead Characterization, Safety and Toxicology Assessment, Bioanalytical Services, Pharmaceutical Development Services such as Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC), and Clinical Phase 1 studies. Frontage applies the same rigorous quality system across its business units in North America and China to ensure consistency in quality standards, operating procedures, setup, and systems.

What are your company’s future aspirations? What strategies are you undertaking to achieve those goals? 

Frontage Laboratories will continue to grow its capacity and capabilities both organically and through mergers and acquisitions as appropriate. In just the last six months, the company has expanded its footprint in both North America and China, acquiring a majority share position of a CMC group in China and setting up new labs in both China and North America to accommodate growth in the CMC and Bioanalytical areas. Along the same lines, Frontage Laboratories will continue to look for opportunities that will enhance its end-to-end discovery and drug development services.

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