Covance's acquisition of Virtual Central Laboratory extends capabilities in clinical trial testing

Princeton 03 October 2002Covance Inc. has acquired Virtual Central Laboratory b.v. (VCL), a Netherlands-based company. VCL uses a novel proprietary system to harmonise laboratory results from local and regional laboratories to help expand the reach of traditional central laboratory services. Due to the decreasing availability of treatment-naive patients, for example, more clinical trials are being conducted in regions of the world that are difficult and/or expensive to service via conventional methods. As a result, pharmaceutical companies need innovative solutions for making laboratory services readily available for investigators and ensuring that they themselves receive a complete, harmonised data set which is available in a timely fashion.


"This acquisition reflects our focus on delivering real time data access to provide our customers with high-quality information that can help accelerate the drug development process", stated Chris Kuebler, Chairman and CEO of Covance. "We believe that the inherent synergies between VCL and our existing central laboratory services will open new market opportunities for our customers."

VCL was founded in The Netherlands in 1995 by a clinical laboratory consortium focused on studies that required faster turnaround time, such as acute care or oncology studies, than traditional central laboratories could generally deliver. Usually this faster delivery could be achieved because of proximity to a local laboratory.

Their technology also facilitated studies where sample transport logistics precluded the use of a traditional central laboratory due to feasibility or expense, for example, in India, China, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Their proprietary technology and network of qualified laboratories harmonises lab results by using standards and reference samples supplied by VCL.

"Our systems and processes will enable the central laboratory services operations at Covance to reach a larger population of investigators around the world", stated Jaap Dijkman, Cofounder and Managing Director of VCL. Dr. Dijkman will continue as the Managing Director of Covance VCL.

"We believe that the blending of the two services will enable our customers to gather more clinical trial data in a centralised manner despite traditional geographic limitations", added Stephen Sullivan, President Covance Central Laboratory Services.

Covance Central Laboratory Services is the largest laboratory in the world devoted exclusively to global pharmaceutical development and operates central laboratory facilities in Indianapolis, USA; Geneva, Switzerland; and Singapore; and has exclusive associations in Cape Town, South Africa and Sydney, Australia. It has launched innovative solutions to better serve their customers including Covance LabLink, a real time, Web-enabled review of central laboratory information; an automated kit productions facility in Indianapolis; and unique laboratory specimen management systems.

Covance, with headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive drug development services companies with 2001 pro forma revenues of $800 million, global operations in seventeen countries, and approximately 7000 employees worldwide.

Leslie Versweyveld

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