Senior management of Beardsworth Consulting say they will continue to carry out the vision of company founder, president and CEO Donna E. Beardsworth, who died suddenly March 22 at age 54.
New company president and CEO Michael O’Brien had recently returned the CEO post to Donna Beardsworth after 4½ years. The two were readying an announcement to be made at the Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference last week in Phoenix that O’Brien would be stepping into a business development role. Now, he has stepped back into the CEO post.
“Now, in this role, it takes on a whole new meaning,” O’Brien said, “continuing to shine the spirit of Donna. Her mission was to help sick patients—it’s a compelling motivation.”
Beardworth Consulting is a specialty CRO focusing on complex clinical trials for difficult therapeutic areas, particularly oncology and vaccines. Donna Beardsworth founded the company, based in Flemington, N.J., 25 years ago, making it one of the oldest woman-owned CROs.
Donna Beardworth grew up in Woodbury, Conn., and earned a B.A. in Biological Sciences and an M.A. in Biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College. She worked in clinical research at Massachusetts General Hospital for six years following graduation. O’Brien said through her work at MGH and Johnson & Johnson, she had both treated patients and ushered drugs through to FDA approval, experiencing the full drug-development process. She saw the potential to combine the various parts into one company.
Beardsworth Consulting is certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise (WBENC). With 45 full-time employees, the company saw 30% growth in the first quarter of 2011. Of its business, 75% comes from repeat clients.
O’Brien said the company is well-poised for growth. Coming into 2011 with its healthiest backlog ever, first-quarter revenues exceeded targets. Moving forward, he said, the company is looking to combine its oncology and vaccine specialties to pursue oncology vaccine opportunities.
“Of our eight senior managers, we average eight to 10 years working together,” O’Brien said. “We’re in a very good position to carry her vision forward.”