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“Sponsors are looking to reduce the number of outsourcing relationships,” said Clearstone Central Laboratories CEO Lewis Cameron, in an interview with Applied Clinical Trials. This was offered as the genesis for its global strategic collaboration it entered into with LabCorp last week.
To help facilitate that need, the Clearstone and LabCorp collaboration—effective immediately—is structured as a preferred provider relationship, whereby each company will offer the full complement of services of both companies to clients, but with a single point of contact. Cameron said the scientific expertise within LabCorp, as well as its North American roots, coupled with Clearstone’s global footprint, ability for high volume safety testing in global clinical trials, and its proprietary Apollo Central Lab Protocol Management (CLPM) system, makes the most of the capabilities the two companies offer.
While the collaboration is a great opportunity for both companies to reach into the others expertise and client base, Cameron says there is not a lot of overlap between the clients. Those that do overlap also may not be offering the same services. “In that way, we become a true one stop-shop,” said Cameron.“Clearstone has a highly-regarded scientific team already in place that has been working on trials for over 22 years,” said Cameron.
“LabCorp complements our operations with many centers of excellence and additional specialty testing and biomarker expertise that our clients will now have access to through Clearstone.” Specifically, LabCorp centers of excellence are The Center for Molecular Biology and Pathology, National Genetics Institute, ViroMed Laboratories, Inc., The Center for Esoteric Testing, Litholink Corporation, DIANON Systems, Inc., US LABS, Monogram Biosciences, Inc. and Esoterix, Inc. and its Colorado Coagulation, Endocrine Sciences, and Cytometry Associates laboratories.
Clearly, Cameron has a plan for the company. Clearstone, was purchased from the MDS Pharma Services Central Labs business late last year by Czura Thornton's Life Sciences Group and renamed. Late in May, Clearstone announced its intention to phase out the cardiac services business to focus on its central laboratory business, and now the scientific expertise expansion around the LabCorp collaboration. “We are a provider of central laboratory services. And the cardiac business is a different setup,” explained Cameron. “We don’t see the need for any additional collaborations similar to this one, as only LabCorp can provide the added expertise and services our clients need.”
However, Cameron did leave the door open for possible geographic expansions. The company is building successfully on its Beijing lab operations, where Cameron notes a significant uptick in sponsor activity. “China is a place of increasing interest and we’re seeing more global studies being introduced in that region each year,” he said. That’s good news for Clearstone given their long-standing presence and expertise in the market. In addition to Beijing, the company has wholly-owned CAP-accredited laboratories in Paris, Singapore and Toronto, and can now leverage added presence throughout North America with the LabCorp deal.
Other strengths that sponsors can gain in the collaboration include access to Clearstone’s APOLLO system, which centralizes lab data on one global system, as well as streamlined logistics planning and budgeting. “Global logistics are a major focus area for our company and clients,” said Cameron. “We continually look at innovative ways to manage and reduce these costs in mature and emerging markets.”