Covance pools its early-stage R&D services into one offering

Drug developers commonly deal with a host of CROs as they work their way from preclinical testing to first-in-human trials, a process designed to maximize the strengths of each contractor. But a piecemeal approach to early-stage development can lead to costly delays, according to Covance ($CVD), which is pitching an all-encompassing offering it claims can seamlessly shuttle molecules from animal studies to Phase II.

Billed as Covance Early Phase Development Solutions, the CRO's new product deploys a team of experts from the nonclinical, clinical and regulatory worlds to focus on each molecule, creating a customized, contiguous path forward. Because it's all under one roof, Covance can speed up program timelines and guarantee adherence, the company said. And if the CRO can't deliver on those agreed-upon target timelines, it'll hand out partial credits to make up for it.

Covance's Steve Street

"Our market research showed that the two greatest challenges our biopharma clients face today are continuity of a drug development program--both scientific and operational--and the need for stronger outsourcing partnerships," Covance Early Development Vice President Steve Street said in a statement. "We created Early Phase Development Solutions to help our clients overcome those challenges--something that Covance is uniquely positioned to do given the depth and breadth of our services and expertise from the CRO industry as well as global pharma."

Meanwhile, Covance is awaiting the closure of a $6 billion merger with LabCorp ($LH), a deal expected to come before a shareholder vote this quarter. At least one investor has taken serious issue with the buyout, filing suit last month and claiming that chief dealbroker Goldman Sachs had a conflict of interest in advising Covance through the process.

- read the statement

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