ICON plc, (NASDAQ:ICLR) (ISIN:IE0005711209), a global provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries, today announced the official opening of a purpose-built clinical pharmacology unit within the Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust (CMFT) campus in Manchester, UK. Initial studies in the unit utilising translational medicine methodologies to expedite drug development projects began in June, and already 110 volunteers have participated in studies there. The two-floor, 34-bed hospital-based unit brings ICON’s Phase I global bed capacity to over 280 beds, and includes a sample handling laboratory, 24-hour medical cover, local GMP pharmacy, contiguous access to the Accident and Emergency department at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and local bioanalytical support. The unit also features four fully environmentally controlled pharmacodynamic testing suites where ICON continues its industry-leading work modelling complex pathologies to identify early efficacy signals of compounds in clinical areas such as Neuropathic Pain, Anxiety and Cognitive Degeneration. Alan Morgan, ICON Group President – Early Clinical Research, commented: “ICON has conducted clinical pharmacology studies in Manchester for over 25 years, and the opening of this translational medicine unit further demonstrates our commitment to streamlining the process that guides new compounds through the early phases of development into treatments that improve human health. Our collaborative relationship with the CMFT, and the location of the new unit on one of the largest teaching hospitals in the UK, facilitates unrivalled access to the expertise, specialist procedures and patient populations necessary to bring life saving medicines to market faster.” CMFT is a member of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC), which is one of only five such sites in the UK designated by the Department of Health as a centre of excellence in applying health research and education into healthcare. Through the collaboration, ICON shares expertise with academic and medical communities of this network and has access to the facilities of other NHS members and the University of Manchester.