"This part of the IT outsourcing market is growing rapidly and we have received a lot of demand from SMEs for an integrated suite of services that would address their specific needs," John Graham, director of life sciences, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com at Interphex, New York.
"We now have our first five clients and we expect this number to double this year as more and more SMEs realise they can get better IT services for less money by outsourcing certain functions," he said.
Court Square's new Life Sciences Practice is comprised of three groups; strategy, validation and project management.
The Strategy Group provides high-level consulting services that help biopharma executives develop an IT plan that matches their scientific and business needs at each stage of the drug lifecycle.
"Many small and mid-sized biopharma firms make disastrous decisions about buying and implementing the IT infrastructure they need to have in place. IT strategies that may be appropriate for big pharma can literally sink a small or mid-sized biopharm," said Graham.
"We advise SMEs to buy and implement IT effectively for the particular stage of the drug lifecycle they are moving into, instead of rolling out expensive infrastructure that may not be used for several years, tying up precious capital. We help them prevent making very expensive mistakes," he said.
The Validation Group offers services to help biopharma firms keep their IT systems in compliance with increasingly tough Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.
"Many companies, particularly SMEs struggle with FDA compliance because the FDA just tells them it needs to be done, but it doesn't tell them how to do it," said Graham.
"We have developed what we term as good systems practice (GSP) to create a standard methodology and ensure that our systems and processes hold up against FDA regulations and provide complete traceability," said Graham.
The Project Management Group functions as a client advocate when companies implement IT solutions. Many SMEs lack the staff and experience to implement complex IT solutions effectively.
"Small and mid-sized biopharms need an experienced project manager on their side who will assure that implementation budgets, goals and schedules are adhered to. This service usually pays for itself," Graham said.
When comparing itself to the competition, Court Square believes it has the edge.
"We have specialised in biopharma IT since we began 10 years ago and where other small companies competing against us have a mixed business interest, we focus only on life sciences," said Graham.
When competing head to head with large rivals such as IBM, Graham believes that as a small company, Court Square can offer its small and medium-sized clients several advantages, because "Sometimes small companies match better with other small companies."
"We can offer SMEs better access to senior staff members and our clients are number one on our list, not number 100 as they might be if they were doing business with IT giants such as IBM," said Graham.
"In addition, large companies such as IBM often also have their own set of in-house methodologies. We are flexible and can tailor our methodologies to suit individual needs," he said.