A Preclinical CRO Institution Then and Now
Toxikon Corp. was founded as Cambridge Diagnostics in 1977 and reincorporated to its current namesake in 1982 by Dr. Laxman Desai, president and CEO.
Prior to establishing the company, Dr. Desai managed oncology drug research programs at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. It is through his expertise that Toxikon became established in life sciences and has continued to advance innovations in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries for more than 30 years.
Throughout its history, Toxikon has evolved to meet the challenges of life science industries. In 1987, Toxikon acquired the former American Biogenics, Inc., of Woburn, MA. This facility was part of the National Toxicology Program, and Toxikon expanded its toxicology and analytical capabilities from 1987 through 1995.
In 1995, Toxikon relocated to its current location in Bedford, MA, an 80,000-square-foot facility that allowed the contract research organization to further expand its testing services for medical device, biotech, and pharmaceutical markets dedicated to research and development, GLP, and GMP projects. In 2005, Toxikon purchased the former SunOpta Ingredients Group facility directly next door to its Bedford headquarters, transforming it into more than 45,000 square feet of additional laboratory space and creating a campus-style setting and space for large animal models and additional instrumentation for bioanalytical support services.
Bedford and Belgium
While Toxikon’s Bedford, MA, campus occupies 125,000 square feet of research and development space for small and large molecules and medical devices, Toxikon Europe in Leuven, Belgium, primarily focuses on analytical services, rapid microbiology, and in-vitro assays, including expanded microbiological capabilities. Toxikon also offers programs specifically designed for ocular, surgical, research and development and discovery, synthesis and formulation, and pathology.
Toxikon’s facilities are fully licensed and accredited. Additionally, the Bedford facilities have full USDA, OLAW, and AAALAC animal testing credentials. Both facilities are ISO/IEC accredited, and conduct international GxP work. Toxikon presently has approximately 75 animal rooms, with separate preparation areas, and fully equipped surgical suites supported by DVM surgeons and support services.
Toxikon has approximately 200 full-time employees who serve more than 1,000 customers across the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device sectors.
Toxikon: What’s in a Name?
The word “toxikon” is as old as Greek Mythology and as novel as the new product development it fosters. The Online Etymology Dictionary, as well as numerous other sources on the origin of words, says “toxikon” is the ancient Greek word meaning “poison arrow.” In fact, there was a time during the Society of Toxicology's 50-year history that its logo sported a toxikon (see photo).
These etymology sources also indicated that the Latin words “toxicum” and “toxicus” mean “poison” and “poisoned” respectively. It was right around 1660 that the French word “toxique” for “poisonous” emerged and was later combined with the Greek word “logia” for “the study of” to form “toxicologie,” or “toxicology,” the study of the nature, effects, and detection of poisons and the treatment of poisoning.
And while Shakespeare’s Juliet suggests the randomness of a name by wondering if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, the meaning behind Toxikon’s moniker is as deliberate as its mission: To provide sound science with on-time delivery—from pre-market safety to post-market surveillance.