Medpace’s Andrew Masih, London-based Senior Director of Clinical Operations, on how CROs are taking over from big pharma as training ground for the life sciences industry
US-based Contract Research Organisation (CRO) Medpace has its UK presence firmly established with continued growth on the horizon. The London office – together with the recently expanded office in Stirling – forms part of the Medpace key strategic development in the UK.
Founded in 1992 in the USA, Medpace has fully committed to growth in Europe. After initiating operations in the UK 11 years ago, it now employs 60 people in the capital – 140 UK-wide – and expects that figure to double within the next year.
With a partnering model and a focus on drug and medical device clinical development, Medpace typically works with biotech and mid-sized pharma companies. The partners find it more cost-effective to outsource clinical research to a specialist team of experts who can drive the process from concept to end result. The company has a far-reaching global presence, with offices and facilities across North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, giving Medpace the ability to conduct successful studies across a global footprint.
Mr Masih said: “Because of this reach, the UK is a prime location for a CRO to support global operations which offers more than just a shared language and similar culture.
He added: “With an internationally diverse population, a single health service that we are utilising more efficiently for research and world-leading expertise, this allows for great potential in the UK. This diversity also means the Medpace UK team can directly contact sites across the globe in their native languages to expedite trial start-up and facilitate discussions with key opinion leaders in their own languages.
“The benefit Medpace offers is that we know where the sites and the patients are and we know the best routes to work with all the key players throughout the process. There is demand UK-wide for this sort of partnership and it’s also a great incentive for international bio-tech and pharma companies, adding to the UK’s attractiveness as a place to invest.”
Sarah Haywood, MedCity’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “The training grounds of big pharma used to be an invaluable part of the life sciences ecosystem, developing talent not just in research but also management and leadership. The pool of people developed in this way was vital to innovative small and medium sized companies which really need agile, experienced entrepreneurs to lead them.”
“We need to get recent graduates into life sciences,” said Mr Masih. “Outsourcing increasingly means that the grounding in R&D management and enterprise that graduates used to get in pharma companies is becoming rarer. Medpace takes its responsibility in this area very seriously – we rely on our knowledgeable and well-qualified workforce for our success, so it’s in our interests to keep the pipeline flowing.”
Medpace has worked with the top five major London universities, hiring both undergraduates and postgraduates, and welcomes applications from all students and graduates with a background in life sciences. Students/graduates can be seconded for summer or annual internships with a view to progressing into full-time Medpace employees. Referred to as Interns, they will be exposed to all components of clinical research to build their experience and identify the right fit for their particular skill-sets.
Outsourcing is a growing trend within the pharmaceutical sector, with companies seeking to cut costs and make efficiencies by partnering with external R&D expertise. A by-product of this evolution is diminishing opportunities for in-house training and development within the pharma industry in the business of life sciences. It’s a baton that Medpace, with its extensive industry leading training programme, is committed to pick up.