UK-based contract research organization (CRO) Cmed has raised almost $10 million in growth capital—funds that will be used to advance the company’s electronic data capture (EDC) system and the company’s brand worldwide.
The funding, from European investment firm Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), comes as an investment in Cmed shares. Cmed will have access to further funds should the company need it, according to Cmed CEO David Connelly.
Up until recently, Cmed was known simply as a CRO with EDC capabilities, and the company used profits from its CRO division to fund the development of its Timaeus EDC platform. However, Timaeus has gained increasing interest from pharmaceutical companies as a stand-alone product.
“Interest in our Timaeus system as a next generation system has really been starting to grow over this last 12 months,” Connelly said. “We recognized that we needed to take on capital if we were going to grow the company to the next level.”
Timaeus, according to the company, is the first EDC system to enable multiple types of data capture (e.g., paper, Web, advanced wireless) within a single trial with full data manage ment capabilities.
“If you look at the competitors out there, they’ve either had an old CDMS—an old Clinical Data Management System—and they’ve tried to add on withWeb electronic data capture or they’ve built aWeb electronic data capture system and they’re trying to build the system backwards to provide data management capabilities as well,” Connelly said. “Our view was that you really shouldn’t do that.What we decided to do was build a brand new architecture that’s quite different from the current systems out there.”
Founded in 1999, Cmed will continue to be a CRO, but Connelly predicts the CRO and technology divisions will become increasingly separate as more pharmaceutical companies license the Timaeus technology.
Other CROs are beginning to express interest in Cmed’s Timaeus technology, as well.
“We’re not averse to providing [other CROs] the technology, because we recognize as a CRO with just under 250 people we cannot support the big global studies or meet the demands of some of the clients. In fact, some [sponsors] are suggesting to CROs that they come to us, especially for large or difficult studies,” he said.
Headquartered in the UK with offices in the United States and Romania, Cmed will use the funding to promote the company’s brand worldwide. Connelly said the company has been called the “best kept secret in clinical research,” but he hopes to change that in 2009.
“Because of growing interest in Africa, we are currently exploring the possibility of a presence in Africa.We have just recruited our first person in Singapore so we may well put a technical support hub in Singapore. Longer term, we have plans to expand further into Central and Eastern Europe and also into South America,” Connelly said.
In 2009, the company will open up at least one additional U.S. office and plans to add to its senior management team to facilitate the company’s growth.