What is a Contract Vivarium?
What is a CV?
The Contract Vivarium model is gaining significant momentum in the preclinical development ecosystem as one of the life science industry’s most innovative new business models. A contract vivarium (CV) is a turnkey animal research facility, AAALAC-accredited, and accessible to multiple clients for in vivo stage preclinical R&D, typically with rodents. By providing a fully equipped, managed, and staffed space for research, the CV model offers early-stage biotechs a high quality, high-potential strategy for early-stage drug development.
Science-enabling research space is the foundation of the CV model. CV facilities offer both housing and procedure rooms of varying sizes and configurations to fit the needs of clients at different stages of development. Along with offering access to fully equipped animal holding and procedure space for in vivo studies, CV’s support all clients with comprehensive laboratory animal services (LAS) and regulatory compliance oversight services, including animal husbandry, veterinary oversight, and an its own Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) which provides guidance and approval of animal studies protocols.
A contract vivarium typically also offers in vivo technical services support, which includes assistance and training for basic biomethodology, surgical procedures, colony management, and breeding of animal models. Technical services support is especially helpful for early-stage companies who may lack some expertise with animal studies, or for companies who are running lean teams and may just need an extra hand.
The CV research environment and its LAS program is AAALAC-accredited. AAALAC accreditation is awarded through regular inspections of the vivarium facility and review of its operations to certify the highest standards of biosecurity, animal care and compliance, and that all systems and equipment is functioning and stable, providing a safe and contaminant-free environment for animal research.
Why choose a CV?
Choosing a contract vivarium instead of building a vivarium or outsourcing preclinical studies to a contract research organization (CRO), is a sound strategy for de-risking preclinical in vivo stage studies.
For biotechs who might have only one chance to bring their drug to clinical, access to a turnkey vivarium research facility that includes animal care and compliance oversight services offers them control over their science, enabling them to keep their preclinical studies in-house without having to undertake the operational complexities of running a vivarium, handling animal husbandry and veterinary oversight, and navigating often arduous regulatory compliance requirements. Instead, companies can focus teams and budgets on research and data validation, which helps them to increase productivity and focus their teams and budgets strictly on science.
“When you’re a CFO in a biotech company and you’re receiving $25 million to go to your next phase, you want to operationalize that money,” explains Yohan Tessier, Vice President of Commercial Operations & Strategic Development at Mispro, a contract vivarium organization (CVO) with locations in all major U.S. biotech hubs. “You don’t want to put it in brick and mortar. You’re better off deploying that money to development.”
An Alternative to the CRO Model
Many companies who do not have access to a vivarium facility to conduct their early stage in vivo studies typically outsource their programs to a CRO. But when looking at high failure rates of clinical stage trials, giving up control of studies is a risky and often expensive strategy. Conversely, the CV enables companies to conduct their own studies in a full-service turnkey research facility. This option significantly accelerates timelines versus outsourcing to a CRO, where companies typically experience long wait times for studies to begin and results to be processed. The control the CV offers also enables founding scientists and their teams to conduct their own studies and closely monitor data collection and validation, which increases productivity and also the likelihood of reproducibility in later stage trials.
Adds Tessier, “The contract vivarium model is designed, deployed, and operated to provide clients with an environment that is conducive to successful preclinical in vivo R&D. That is our singular focus. The growth of model, with potentially 50 CV facilities in the U.S. in the next 5 years, is testament to the effectiveness of the contract vivarium option for next-gen biotechs as they pursue drug development.”
Need research space for upcoming in vivo studies?
Mispro offers a network of premium coworking vivarium research facilities that are conveniently located in key life science areas in the U.S. and Canada.