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ResearchPoint Global Continues to Grow, Add CRO Partners

Monday, February 22, 2010

ResearchPoint recently added India-based GVK Biosciences to its ResearchPoint Global network, increasing the number of affiliate contract research organizations (CROs) that work with the organization to nine.

ResearchPoint launched its ResearchPoint Global network in 2004 as a way to expand its services across the globe through partner CROs. The company, which has two U.S.-based offices of its own, can conduct work in 65 countries through its ResearchPoint Global affiliates.

While it’s not uncommon for CROs to partner with other CROs to tackle projects in other parts of the world or to offer different services, ResearchPoint Global’s model is unique in that it gives all partner CROs a vested financial stake in the success of ResearchPoint Global. Affiliate CROs share revenues generated from ResearchPoint Global, in addition to benefiting from any new CRO work that they might take on as a result of the partnership. They also share some of the administrative expenses to run the group, but Matt Walker, ResearchPoint’s executive vice president of marketing and business development, said the arrangement is a win-win for both sides.

“Every member on its own would have difficulty getting the global reach that they get through this group. Collectively, everyone’s able to reach across the globe to conduct clinical trials and to get business development efforts and marketing efforts that they wouldn’t otherwise get without significant efforts on their own part. A lot of them like the fact that ResearchPoint, for example, is a U.S.-based CRO because most of the clinical trial sponsors are based in the states. This gives them access to that strong base that they can tap on their own, but they can do it collectively as well. It’s kind of like a referral network but a referral network where you have some skin in the game,” Walker said.

ResearchPoint Global is one of three brands under the ResearchPoint umbrella. ResearchPoint, the main company, is also a member CRO of ResearchPoint Global. The company also launched ResourcingPoint, a clinical trial staffing business, last summer.

GVK Biosciences is ResearchPoint Global’s first partner in India and will be the only company in that area to be a part of the group. Walker said the company tries to avoid partnering with CROs that are in competition with each other. GVK adds four CRO offices to ResearchPoint Global’s network.

“We came to GVK Biosciences specifically because they have a very clean track record,” Walker said. “We went through several meetings with their leadership team, and we felt like we were basically looking in the mirror. That’s very important to us.”

Participation in ResearchPoint Global goes beyond just offering CRO services. Partner CROs must be “likeminded,” Walker said, meaning they must commit to following a shared set of standard operating procedures and participating in monthly conference calls to discuss the strategic direction of the group. Members who don’t live up to these expectations are cut from the network.

“We take ResearchPoint Global very seriously, and we take the commitment to it very seriously,” Walker said. “We’re not looking for [members] to delegate [participation in the group] to an alliance manager or something like that in the company. Our CEO and president sits in on the ResearchPoint Global calls and sits on the governing board, and we look for [members] to act similarly and to have that kind of top-level buy-in.”

ResearchPoint has no plans to become a large global CRO on its own, but the company does want to evolve the ResearchPoint Global model in 2010 to one that is hybrid, meaning that the company has both partner CROs and its own offices throughout the world. Walker wouldn’t elaborate on plans to purchase other CROs but said that current ResearchPoint Global partners are likely candidates.

“It’s on our roadmap to continue to evolve the ResearchPoint Global model to one that we would call a hybrid model. While that’s still not a true global CRO in the sense of some of these companies that have all of their offices owned, we just haven’t seen any downside to not having full ownership of all the offices that are in ResearchPoint Global. Where it makes sense to do something and to have common ownership, we’re certainly going to pursue that,” Walker said.

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