A Small Biopharma’s View Of Working With CROs

A Small Biopharma’s View Of Working With CROs

Source: Life Science Leader
By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader

Running a clinical-stage oncology biopharma with only five employees means you quickly learn a thing or two about the value of outsourcing services.

For Pamela Contag, Ph.D., cofounder and CEO of BioEclipse Therapeutics, those learnings have led to her company using five CROs to get CRX100, BioEclipse’s lead investigational candidate, through approval.

But Contag is no stranger to company building; she’s cofounded and led several of them, including Xenogen and ConcentRx, during her career. Throughout those years, she has amassed a wealth of knowledge that undoubtedly can be useful to other small biopharmas or startups seeking to delve into outsourcing partnerships.

When first building BioEclipse, Contag noted the importance of having three independent directors serving on the company’s board. She credits that board with helping her do a better job of determining which CRO to choose. Contag says she looks for “independent board directors with deep domain expertise who aren’t singularly focused on the economic outcomes for investors, but instead, what’s best for the company, which is usually what’s best for investors, too.”

Initially, the company started working with a couple CROs, but those partnerships didn’t last long because, according to Contag, the necessary experience wasn’t there. But, rather than go straight to a large CRO, she opted to find the expertise the company needed from all along the drug development value chain. That search ultimately led to the company’s current five CROs. “All of these CROs have been working in our area of expertise for a long time,” she states. “They all know each other and have worked together before. It’s like having a company of 35 people, and it’s really fun.” You read that correctly — Pamela Contag finds working with properly selected CROs to be “fun.”