The five-year partnership deal will see the US CRO conducting Phase I clinical trials using the clinical research unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, UK. For the Trust, the broadening of its early clinical trials is in line with plans to offer its services to the international pharmaceutical market.
Director of Research and Development at the Trust, Professor Robert Sutton, described the agreement as “an industry-leading relationship in the world of clinical research.” He added: “We have the ability to work with new technologies to enhance the effectiveness and safety of new medicines for our patients.”
Covance is the first CRO to collaborate with the NHS Trust and the alliance was described as “innovative” by Rob Aspbury, Vice President and General Manager, Global Clinical Pharmacology Services at Covance hopes to use the partnership to offer its clients
Aspbury explained that the deal will provide its clients quicker, more specialised and better monitored access to patients undergoing Phase I clinical trials. The agreement will “help make the drug development process more efficient and ultimately bring important drugs to market sooner to help patients in need.”
The NHS as a global player
Proposals launched last August offered Britain’s health care system the possibility of becoming a service provider for pharma, biotech, CROs and other healthcare systems globally, generating profits – marginal compared to the £100bn ($158bn) tax-funded budget - which would be put back into the UK.
GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca were instantly attracted to the proposals sparking debate over whether the Government led health system should be going into business with multinationals. The directive, however, was aimed at areas within the NHS which had the ability and technology to benefit from international collaboration rather than the institution as a whole.
The Trust is one such sector who, in collaborating with Covance, is taking advantage of the international outsourcing.
Spanning across three hospitals in the North of England, The Trust is using the partnership to further its own ambition of establishing the region as a major science hub, increasing focus on clinical research and expanding its investment in clinical pharmacology.