PPD to open early-stage clinical research unit in Las Vegas

PPD is opening a 24-bed early-stage clinical research unit in Las Vegas.

PPD is opening a 24-bed clinical research unit in Las Vegas in support of its early drug development services.

The CRO chose this new site because it offers logistical and geographic access to the populated West Coast, said Cindy Doerfler, VP of PPD’s Early Development Division.

The new facility is located about 10 miles away from the McCarran International Airport, near the St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, San Martin campus, which was named by the U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Regional Hospitals in Las Vegas metropolitan area, with expertise in areas such as neurological, orthopedics and cardiovascular cares.

With such geographic vicinity, PPD will be able to utilize the facility’s hospital-based services and medical expertise, Doerfler said. Besides the St. Rose Dominican campus, it is also close to several universities, including two medical schools, as well as six local research sites.

The new unit will add on to PPD’s capability in early-stage development services currently offered at its Austin, TX, unit. The 128,000-square-foot Austin clinic, one of the largest in the world, can carry out several studies simultaneously in healthy volunteers, but the Las Vegas unit can support clinical research in patients as well.

It will support first-in-human through proof-of-concept trials, offering various services ranging from nonclinical consulting to protocol writing, protocol optimization, project management, laboratory services, monitoring, medical writing, data management, biostatistics and clinical pharmacology, Doerfler added.

Elaine Watkins will act as the Las Vegas facility’s medical director. She has 25 years of clinical experience and 12 years of experience in more than 200 early-phase clinical trials, according to PPD’s official website.

The company is expecting to initiate the first studies at the new facility in the third quarter of 2017.

Last December, rumors resurfaced that the North Carolina-based CRO was up for sale for about $5 billion, as the company enlisted Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase and Centerview Partners to help it find a buyer.