UCB and another client discussed the benefits, to all parties, of Phlexglobal having a site in the US. This has led to setting up an office in Carlsbad, California, which will serve US clients and convert interest from North America, which accounts for 50 per cent of enquiries, into business.
Speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma, Aidan Nuttall, president of the US office, said that in the past couple of weeks he has met with a large east coast pharma company that is “very interested” inoutsourcing to Phlexglobal.
Initially the US office will focused on providing the trial document management services offered by UK-based Phlexglobal. Nuttall said a local company has approached the Carlsbad office to enquire about outsourcing document management while it implements structural changes.
Carlsbad is home to a number of biopharm companies, including Invitrogen, but local business potential was a secondary factor in the contract research organisation’s (CRO) decision to locate there.
Nuttall said that having consulted for Phlexglobal the firm approached him to help set up the US office. In response, Nuttall said he would run the US office if it was located in Carlsbad.
Opening of the US office will be officially announced tomorrow at DIA 2010, which takes place this week in Washington, DC, US. Nuttall said that after this Phlexglobal should have a better idea of the level of interest in the US office.
At a later date an expanded range of electronic Trial Master File (eTMF) services and Task Force, the provision of staff for short-term projects, will be added to the US office.
Staffing levels at the office will also expand, said Nuttall. Currently Phlexglobal has hired five people but plans to add one more. Phlexglobal is aiming to hire another team of six, bringing total staffing levels up to 12, by the end of the year, said Nuttall.
To support the training of the first employees and the establishment of the office Phlexglobal has sent over two people from the UK office. Nuttall said this delegation includes a quality control leader from the UK who will stay until the end of 2010 if necessary to ensure standards are met.
Phlexglobal is also sending over the overall head of the operation this week to perform an internal audit. By taking this “belt and braces” approach Nuttall believes Phlexglobal can ensure standards at the US office are equal to those of the UK operations.
This is also supported by the adoption of very similar standard operating practices (SOP). The UK team will also check the first few documents the US office processes to ensure everything is performed properly.