This latest client is the tenth to be signed by Covalent since the start of the year - eight of which began with consulting contracts, which were later expanded to include contracts for clinical services.
"This confirms the validity of our business model which integrates both consulting and operational capabilities clinical development programs for drugs, biologics, and medical devices," said president and CEO Kenneth Borow.
Covalent experienced a decline in the level of its clinical trials business at the start of 2006 and this, in addition to start-up delays from several new contracts awarded late in 2005, was cited as a contributing factor in disappointing financial results reported by the firm in its first quarter this year - with net revenues only $2m compared to $3.2m for the comparable 2005 quarter.
At the time the contract research organisation (CRO) said it was pinning its hopes on a better second quarter performance and "a return to profitability", which it is now poised to receive, thanks to its succession of new business wins.
Under the latest deal, Covance will perform a proof-of-concept Phase II trial to test the hypothesis that aggressive anti-microbial therapy can beneficially impact the progression of atherosclerosis in patients with known vascular disease.
The trial will analyse imaging data recorded from serial images obtained with multiple medical imaging techniques, in conjunction with clinical assessments and biomarkers of inflammation to assess the efficacy of the study drug.
Covalent said its services will include consulting on trial design and protocol development, project and study site management, field operations, data management, biostatistical support and medical writing.
Revenues will begin being recognised during the current third quarter, on a proportional performance basis over the life of the contract as services are performed, said the firm.