Covance launches lab management service to cut study costs

Drug developers look to external labs to do all manner of tests, but they can easily get stretched too thin when trying to manage myriad vendors. Covance ($CVD) wants to step in and handle that, and the CRO has kicked off an external lab management offering, promising to save its clients as much as 65% in oversight costs.

Covance said it can seamlessly manage all of its clients' external tests, helping select labs, audit capabilities, deal with vendors and clean up data. The new offering dovetails with the CRO's central lab services, allowing clients to streamline their processes by dealing solely with Covance and letting the company handle outside providers.

While the industry has made strides in standardizing data reporting, external labs still churn out results that don't necessarily jibe with sponsors' needs, Covance said. And while drug developers often have to burn cash and delay programs to parse data, the CRO has the capacity to sort all that out without getting off schedule, Covance Vice President Paul Kirchgraber said.

"By providing an enhanced laboratory data solution that reduces regulatory risk and lowers drug development cost, we enable our clients to focus on their core competencies, ultimately accelerating development and commercialization timelines," Kirchgraber said in a statement.

The latest offering is part of a move toward value-added services for Covance, coming a few months after the testing giant launched its managed markets service platform, designed to help clients deal with managed-care organizations, group purchasing outfits, federal and state programs and wholesalers.

Like many in the industry, Covance has struggled with its early-phase research business, but central lab services have continued to carry its revenue. Last quarter, Covance boosted sales 9.1% to $592.3 million.

- read the announcement