Clearstone targets geographic and service expansions
Lewis Cameron flies into Toronto, Canada today to begin his tenure as CEO with a meeting of the global executive board to review sales and operations and establish objectives for the company.
The overarching goal is to re-establish Clearstone’s market strength following Czura Thornton’s acquisition of the business from MDS. To achieve this Cameron envisages restructuring and adapting the organisation, in part by expanding its service offering and geographic reach.
Latin America is at the forefront of discussions about geographic expansion, with Clearstone keen to move into an emerging market where it is yet to establish a presence. Other possibilities include the addition of sites in India or Russia.
Notably, Chiltern, which is also owned by Czura Thornton, has a presence in all three regions. In a November 2009 interview, Nick Thornton, co-founder of Czura Thornton, explained that Chiltern and Clearstone would use their local knowledge to help each other expand into new geographies.
Cameron, a former Chiltern executive, reiterated that the companies would remain separate, certainly in the short- to medium-term, but expanded on how they can achieve a synergistic relationship.
“Clients want contract research organisations (CROs) to be closer to laboratories”, explained Cameron, and the common ownership of Clearstone and Chiltern means they are well placed to meet this demand.
The demand is driven by cases where clinical and laboratory data overlap. To ensure these are handled in an efficient and effective manner good communication is needed between the CRO and laboratory. Cameron aims to foster this between Chiltern and Clearstone.
Establishing global processes is one the first tasks on Cameron’s agenda. He explained that Clearstone has been developing state-of-the-art technology which it wants to have fully functioning at all its sites.
To achieve this Clearstone is working with its quality team, which is being bolstered with a new appointment. Once the system is in place Clearstone will be positioned to pursue its goals, including increasing the number of mid-sized pharma and biotech clients.
Cameron believes Clearstone can attract and retain these companies by providing a more personalised service. Alongside this effort Clearstone will work to meet the needs of its large pharma clients.
The issues affecting these large businesses have led to pricing pressures being applied to service providers. Cameron added that big companies are offering larger volumes of work in an attempt to get more favourable rates.
Clearstone needs to adapt to the situation, said Cameron, in part by assessing the pricing its own relationships with third-party providers, such as couriers.