ERT and Bioclinica have sealed the deal on their merger, combining Bioclinica’s imaging, eClinical, and drug-safety capabilities; with ERT’s eCOA, cardiac, respiratory, and wearable expertise. According to company leaders, the union gives clients access to a comprehensive, robust endpoint data collection portfolio.
Joe Eazor now serves as CEO of the merged company, over a management team comprising both ERT and Bioclinica executives. He spoke with Outsourcing-Pharma about the merger and the newly integrated organization’s plans for the coming months.
OSP: Could you please offer any insight as to how this merger came about—have you partnered or collaborated on any technical products or projects before this?
JE: The breadth and depth of our newly combined portfolio of clinical trial endpoint solutions are unmatched. We exist to deliver the evidence that improves human health. Driven by this shared vision, we saw a real opportunity to bring the best of our individual medical, scientific and technical expertise together to innovate, architect, and chart the course of clinical trials of the future. Our collective work puts this vision within reach.
Additionally, the pandemic introduced new challenges to the clinical trial management marketplace. With in-person appointments and assessments severely restricted, it has become more important to conduct clinical trials with the highest level of capabilities to enhance trial oversight, enable site optimization, improve patient engagement, and measure the efficacy of new clinical treatments while ensuring patient safety. For an industry that can often be risk-averse, the pandemic encouraged us to be nimble and set the direction for the future.
This merger enables us to be an even more capable partner to global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Together we can provide the most comprehensive and robust endpoint data collection portfolio in the industry with tighter integration across imaging, respiratory, cardiac, eCOA with connected devices, as well as precision motion.
OSP: What about your combined endpoint and imaging capabilities makes this merger especially powerful, and/or beneficial to your clients?
JE: This combination will enhance the clinical trials experience for sites and patients, offer a broader portfolio of integrated solutions, and provide greater access to medical and scientific industry leaders.
The breadth and depth of our combined portfolio of solutions—from eCOA to respiratory, cardiac, and imaging— and the medical, scientific, and technical expertise from the thousands of studies, drugs, and customers we’ve interacted with is unparalleled. Together, we’ve completed more than 870 drug approvals—accounting for over 70% of FDA approvals in 2019 and 2020.
Leveraging this unique footprint, the combined company will deliver data analytics, insights, business intelligence, decentralization tools, hybrid technology solutions, and scientific expertise to partners and patients alike.
OSP: Specifically, what capabilities or depth of expertise will the combined company offer that isn’t currently offered by any other single company currently out there?
JE: With innovation and digital scientific transformation as a foundation, our integrated solutions across key clinical endpoint modalities will enhance drug development efficiency and effectiveness and optimize the overall patient experience.
This newly formed portfolio of unmatched expertise includes more than 45 years of experience supporting over 19,000 clinical trials and serving 5 million patients. We will leverage our combined medical science and advisory services so that all customers will benefit from additional expertise.
OSP: How will the companies be branded going forward?
JE: At this time, ERT will continue to operate as ERT, and Bioclinica will operate as “Bioclinica, an ERT company.” As we move forward with the integration process, we will share more information about how we brand the newly merged organization.
OSP: Can you share any perspective on the newly combined company’s short- and long-term goals?
We aim to deliver evidence that improves human health. We maintain a focus on increasing customer value and improving the patient experience through greater convenience, speed, precision, and integration.
Our continued goal is to accelerate research and development, and leverage technology to deliver a better clinical trial. I’m a believer in the use of technology to do good things, and I can’t imagine a better use than improving human health through clinical trials.
I am particularly excited about our innovation and technology roadmap—as we look ahead, our combined scale allows us to innovate faster, and drive the digital transformation and experience of clinical trials further. We have an opportunity to make a real difference, and we’re committed to doing so.
OSP: Please elaborate on how this union will benefit sites, sponsors, and patients.
JE: We know that operating in today’s complex and fast-moving clinical trials environment is no easy feat, but this combination makes us a more capable partner as we accelerate our market-leading investments in research and development.
Working together, we will continue to reinvent endpoint data collection by delivering higher-fidelity data and more integrated solutions to achieve our customers’ goals for higher effectiveness, greater efficiency, safer trials, and more patient-centric virtual solutions such as precision motion through wearable technology.
It means the pharmaceutical companies we partner with can work with one partner instead of several, it means a better experience for the site where this important research is being done, and most importantly, it means that the burden on patients is lessened.
For example, an oncology patient might be required to receive a battery of different tests as part of their enrollment in a particular trial. That patient might not feel well and is asked to log information in multiple places, which can cause undue stress, and ultimately result in a patient dropping out of a trial. If we can streamline and simplify that effort, we can truly move the needle, reduce the room for error, and improve outcomes.
“Patient experience” is more than just a buzz term. There are ethical reasons for delivering as pleasant a patient experience as possible. In addition, sponsors know that one of their highest expenses in a clinical trial is the cost of patients dropping out. This is yet another incentive for them to design their studies around the patient experience.
This partnership creates greater value for our customers, a brighter future for our people, and a path to improved health for our world.
OSP: Do you have anything to add?
JE: The integration of the world’s leading clinical trial technology and imaging partners will provide a best-in-class portfolio delivering integrated endpoint technologies and leading decentralization capabilities. We are a leading partner in delivering hybrid trials across the spectrum of traditional sites, alternate locations, and the home.
Additionally, ERT has confidently rescued clinical trials being serviced by competitors when they could not successfully complete them. ERT is the dependable partner that will deliver results to ensure clinical trials are executed on time, with success.
Diversity and inclusion in clinical trials are critical, and we understand there’s work to be done. We realize the role we play in that imperative – and we don’t take our responsibility lightly. We are committed to ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels, within our organization, and within the broader industry and communities we serve.
Improving human health is both a personal and professional mission, and I look forward to what the future holds.