Precision for Medicine and its Precision Oncology CRO are expanding operations in Europe, with the goal of better serving developers of cancer treatments.
For those developers, the company says, a key need is patient recruitment—a need that according to Precision poses challenges that overseas expansion can address.
“Many immuno-oncology (I-O) studies today require patients to have been naive to I-O treatments. We're expanding in Western Europe to identify more sites that will be seeing more patients that would qualify for I-O studies,” Precision for Medicine President Chad Clark told Clinical OMICs. “We can help accelerate enrollment and completion of the studies by adding additional European capabilities beyond our existing capabilities.”
Among growth priorities for Precision in Europe will be adding to its laboratories: “Future acquisitions in Europe will include the areas of biomarker laboratories and informatics services. We anticipate discussing these in the very near future,” Clark said.
The company also plans to near-double its Oncology Site Network in Europe, from the current 20-plus cancer treatment centers to 40 by next year. The expansion is expected to add between 70 and 100 people to Precision's workforce by the end of 2018.
Clark said Precision seeks sites that are well-regarded for both patient care and clinical trial excellence.
“They may be academic centers, or they may be large community or other government-supported institutions,” Clark said. “We see studies that are in Phase I and maybe traditionally were done in the U.S., and now we're seeing those being done on both continents. We want to make sure that we can get sites enrolled, and patients enrolled as rapidly as possible under appropriate ethical conditions. That's what our commitment has been in the U.S., and that's why we've been expanding in Europe.”
To join Precision Oncology’s site network, in addition to acceptance of start-up templates, contracts and processes, the sites are required to show a commitment and track record of study start-up within 90 days, as well as:
- A focus on targeted treatments with diverse cancers;
- Demonstrated skill in conducting Phase I trials with “challenging” PK sampling and biopsy requirements for correlative/translational requirements; and
- Commitment and capabilities needed for conducting Phase II-IV trials.
The sites are also expected to access key opinion leaders to review and provide input on study concepts and designs; allow for access to all-comers, as well as disease-specific patients; accommodate in-patient admission; and show PI commitment and enthusiasm, quality-driven practices, and a devoted study staff.
Precision has a staff presence in five European Union countries, anchored by a European headquarters in Paris and an office in Edinburgh, Scotland, focused on rapid expansion of its team of oncology and biomarker experts. The company plans to grow its European presence to eight countries by early next year, with announcements planned for coming months.
Also, Precision signaled an expanded presence in Europe with the recent hiring of two executives. Clare Sarvary Fourrier has joined the company as SVP of clinical operations, Europe, while Andrea Cotton-Berry has been named head of business development and strategic operations, EU and APAC (Asia-Pacific). Both previously held senior leadership positions at global CROs where they oversaw early oncology drug development.
Precision Oncology—which changed its name last year from ACT Oncology after joining Precision for Medicine—is a clinical research organization serving developers seeking an accelerated pathway to proof-of-concept for their targeted cancer treatments, with expertise in specialized cancer research, oncology trial design and execution, and integrated biomarker services.
Precision of Medicine is a precision medicine research company focused on biomarker-driven therapeutic development.