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LabCorp Collaborates with Clearstone in Support of Global Clinical Trials

Posted Aug 16 2010 12:00am

Contract research organizations (CROs) such as Covance and Charles River, particularly those with expertise in clinical and anatomic pathology, have been in the forefront of efforts to develop global networks for collaborative work and information exchange (see: A Look at the World's Largest Central Laboratory Network ; Covance's Execution of a Global Virtual Clinical Lab ; Charles River Acquires Molecular Imaging Company ; Status and Challenges of Offshore Clinical Trials ). They are also leading the way in the adoption of digital pathology for their veterinary pathologists (see: Veterinary Pathologists Adopting Digital Pathology Faster than MDs ). These networks allow for archiving of digital image files in central global locations plus collaborative efforts across multiple sites in the analysis and interpretation of digital images. These clinical trial and research networks will be important models for the future exchange of scientific and medical data, which will be of increasing importance as healthcare transitions to a more global model.

The CRO market is particularly attractive now for clinical and pathology reference labs because Big Pharma is withdrawing from its drug-development and clinical trial efforts, turfing them instead to the rapidly growing CROs (see: CROs Continue to Prosper; Benefits of Big Pharma Outsourcing ). This retrenchment is one facet of Big Pharma's cost-cutting efforts and disappointment with its new drug pipeline. A recent press release indicates that LabCorp has seen the handwriting on the wall and is collaborating with privately held Clearstone Central Laboratories in order to quickly establish its own global network (see: LabCorp Establishes Global Clinical Trials Collaboration with Clearstone Central Labs ). Below is an excerpt from it:

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings...announced...a collaboration between Esoterix Clinical Trials Services, a division of LabCorp, and Clearstone Central Laboratories, a global central laboratory specializing in drug development and pharmaceutical services....The collaboration provides LabCorp with access to Clearstone’s global network of labs, including China, France, Singapore and Canada, in addition to LabCorp's existing labs in the United States and Belgium. The companies will collaborate on providing standardized central laboratory testing for clinical trials to their respective clients. The transaction also provides LabCorp access to Clearstone’s clinical trials management system APOLLO CLPM [Central Lab Protocol Management System], enhancing the ability of clients to conveniently send, receive and manage data.

Here's how Clearstone describes itself on its web page :

Clearstone is the largest and most experienced private company exclusively focused on providing central laboratory services in mature and emerging markets to many of the leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies around the world. Through our unique network of wholly owned CAP certified laboratories, we offer central laboratory services spanning the clinical development lifecycle. Our reach and experience spans the globe with strategically placed facilities in Asia, Europe and the Americas all bound by global SOPs and APOLLO CLPM our global Central Lab Protocol Management System.

Obviously, a physical global network is only one part of the success equation. A second key element, as noted in this excerpt, is Clearstone's clinical trials management software, APOLLO CLPM, that is part of the deal for LabCorp. As you can imagine, managing complex clinical trials across multiple physical locations is a complex endeavor and requires direction from some higher-level "guiding hand." Here is a description of the APOLLO CLPM, also from the Clearstone web site :

APOLLO CLPM is a secured globally accessible web based, 21 CFR part 11 validated application. Designed and developed by subject matter experts of every applied discipline integral to the system. Built on an Oracle database, the APOLLO CLPM system is a truly singular database that replaces multiple legacy systems and sub-systems, helping to drive improvements in efficiency and quality across the central laboratory business Apollo provides for global standardization of requisitions, reports, kits, barcode labels, as well as scientific information, and improves the accuracy and speed of sample reception and processing.

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