UBC has combined two business units in response to shifts in R&D and is lining up takeovers to expand reach and capabilities.
The new business, called Bracket, is made up of two United BioSource (UBC) units: the clinical technologies group; and the specialty clinical services operation. By combining the units UBC hopes to maintain momentum and help sponsors and contract research organisations (CRO) conduct more efficient and accurate clinical trials.
“We're responding to changes in research and development”, Adam Butler, vice president at UBC, told Outsourcing-Pharma at DIA 2011. For instance, CROs running large global clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies need technologies and services to round-out their offering and Bracket aims to win this business.
Bracket, which remains a part of UBC, has 450 employees, up to 150 of whom are based outside the US. UBC now has “a good footing in Europe”, said Butler, but is looking to expand headcount and infrastructure in its fastest growing region – Asia. Since setting up in Japan UBC claims to have seen “dramatic growth”.
Hires will be made to support this growth and Bracket is also looking at takeover targets. UBC has made a number of acquisitions to grow the business since forming in 2003 and this strategy will continue at Bracket.
Data collection tools
While looking to expanded into new geographies Bracket also wants to add technologies, either through in-house development or acquisitions. In particular, Bracket is “working to expand phone and web-based data collection”, said Butler.
Data collection using online devices, such as tablets and smartphones, is one element of this effort. UBC has found patients to be “very accepting” of novel clinical trial data collection techniques and, in fact, some people may be “more honest and open” when engaging with these tools than they are with healthcare staff.
News of Pfizer's 'virtual' clinical trial has put the spotlight on novel approaches to data collection in recent weeks. Pfizer kept the buzz going at DIA by demonstrating the technologies underpinning the trial to the press and Outsourcing-Pharma will have more on this in an upcoming article.