Covance to 'transform' into a decentralized CRO

After snapping up contract research organization Covance for $6.5 billion five years ago, LabCorp is now looking to change the makeup of its drug development business.

The idea is to make a final push for Covance to move from a traditional site-based trial company to one that is siteless. It will double down on all aspects of the virtual model, including telehealth and connected devices to improve data collection, to help realize this

As part of the “transformation,” as its parent company calls it, Covance will also ramp up digitization of mobile nursing visits and sample collections to speed up enrollment and engagement, all in an effort to boost the efficiency of studies.

RELATED: Covance revenue hit hard as COVID-19 continues to drag on trial services

This comes as Covance continues to try to get its head above water amid the ongoing pandemic, which has hit the company hard this year, alongside pretty much every other CRO.

In the summer, reporting its second-quarter financials, it said the pandemic “continues to cause delays in clinical trial progression and associated testing, reductions in investigator site access, as well as interruptions to the supply chain particularly impacting the nonclinical business unit.”

Like many CROs, it now sees going virtual as the future of its business and a way to try to counterbalance the pandemic chaos wrought across trial sites in the U.S. and the world.

“We anticipate that by the end of 2021, the majority of our new studies will include a decentralized component,” said Paul Kirchgraber, M.D., CEO of Covance.

“By deploying protocol-specific, tech-enabled solutions, we are providing patient-centric trial experiences,” said Kirchgraber. “In addition to reducing the burden on patients, our approach improves data quality and provides operational efficiencies that will benefit our biopharmaceutical and medical device customers.”

“As a result of our leading and comprehensive decentralized clinical trial capabilities, we are evaluating all clinical study opportunities for enhancement with our transformative solutions,” he added.