Looking to bolster its clinical research regulatory services for its institutional clients and gain eConsent technology for small to mid-size biopharmaceutical customers, Schulman Associates IRB has acquired Absolute Research, whose research and technology capabilities will be expanded.
The transaction enables Schulman’s clients to research FDA regulations, along with other governmental agency’s rules, and quickly apply them to real clinical trial situations. As a central IRB, it also provides oversight to support institutional research that include academic medical centers, colleges, universities, hospital systems, nursing facilities and other centers.
Additionally, Absolute Research founder Rebecca Ballard has joined the Schulman executive team, as vice president of compliance and board operations.
“We made this acquisition as our institutional customers wanted more information on regulatory guidance as well as research help to support their internal human research protection programs,” said Michael Woods, Schulman CEO. “With Absolute, we will have faster and more reliable access to regulatory information and, like everyone else, look to manage big growth of information, especially where technology makes it more feasible.”
Absolute also provides early-stage informed consent capabilities, notably animation capabilities that include access to a library of images enabling trial participants to review videos about clinical trial participation before approaching them to read the consent form.
“The consent technology is something that will appeal to small to mid-size research sites and gives them reliable access to information about informed consent requirements and guidance,” said Woods, adding that that the pre-consent videos are not be confused with eConsent systems that use multimedia to explain protocol and specific trial requirements to potential participants.
Expanding Absolute’s research capabilities and potentially reaching a bigger audience as part of a major IRB, is a major reason why Ballard chose to sell her company to Schulman and join them.
“They (Schulman) reach the kinds of customers that can utilize our research tools and we can provide guidance and easy-to-use research tools to help them better understand documents and regulations across many agencies,” said Ballard.
Schulman’s acquisition is also part of its planned expansion to Research Triangle Park in Durham, N.C. When completed the site will consolidate most of its Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., operations, said Woods.
The Absolute Research purchase follows last year’s joint venture with Falcon Consulting Group to provide global consultancy services for the development and implementation of Good clinical Practice (GCP) and Human Research Protection (HRP) and procedural standards and programs for the conduct of clinical research studies.