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The Indiana CTSI and Covance to collaborate on early stage clinical research

Sept. 5, 2013

Covance Inc., a leading global drug development services company, and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, a National Institutes of Health-funded collaboration among Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, have announced an agreement to collaborate in conducting early clinical trials for new medicines on behalf of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Scientists process biomedical samples from the Indiana CTSI Clinical Research Center.

IU scientists process biomedical samples from the Indiana CTSI Clinical Research Center.

This alliance provides a significant opportunity to bring more Phase I clinical research to Indiana, through the clinical research unit located within the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis and Covance’s clinical research unit located in Evansville. Phase I clinical research includes studies where investigational new drugs are administered to humans for the first time.

Working together, the two organizations will conduct high-quality research in a safe and regulated environment for sponsors who are looking to recruit both healthy volunteers and patients for early clinical studies.

“The alliance with the Indiana CTSI will help us provide biopharmaceutical clients with quicker access to patients in a hospital setting that supports specialized care and monitoring,” said Rob Aspbury, vice president and general manager, Global Clinical Pharmacology Services at Covance. “With quicker access to patients, we can streamline the drug development process and bring important new medications to patients who need them.”

The Indiana CTSI will provide access to a 13,606-square-foot, 24-patient facility at IU Health University Hospital in Indianapolis. The institute also stands ready to expand operations into a recently renovated 33,078-square-foot, 50-patient facility in the same building. This space re-opens to clinical research for the first time in six years due to the efforts of the Indiana CTSI. 

“The Indiana CTSI works every day to support tremendously talented biomedical scientists whose discoveries have the potential to translate into life-saving new therapies and treatments,” said Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Indiana CTSI and associate dean for translational research and Raymond E. Houk Professor of Psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine. “Our mission is to accelerate the rate at which this research travels out of the lab and into the care of the patients who need it. This alliance with Covance will greatly enhance our ability to accomplish this vital work.”

Services provided by the Indiana CTSI include access to 24-hour nursing support, in-patient and out-patient facilities, on-site laboratory analyses and professional patient recruitment services. These patient recruitment efforts are strengthened through robust patient data from the Regenstrief Institute, a partner of the Indiana CTSI which houses the Indiana Network for Patient Care, in which more than 70 Indiana hospitals share nearly 80 percent of the state’s electronic medical record data. Additional patient and support services are provided through its affiliation with IU Health.

A patient room at the Indiana CTSI Clinical Research Center.

A patient room at the Indiana CTSI Clinical Research Center.

The alliance between Covance and the Indiana CTSI was facilitated by BioCrossroads, an organization that advances Indiana’s signature strengths in the life sciences by connecting corporations, academic institutions and philanthropic organizations.

“This is a major milestone for both Covance and the Indiana CTSI. It’s the type of public-private partnership that really can influence breakthroughs in medicine,” said Deborah Keller, executive vice president and group president, R&D Laboratories at Covance, and a member of the BioCrossroads Board of Directors. “Indiana is unique in its depth and breadth of drug development opportunities, both on the corporate and academic sides, and this collaboration is a shining example of bringing the two together thanks to the work and support of BioCrossroads.”

Covance has been conducting Phase I clinical trials for more than 35 years. In addition to its 80-bed clinical research unit in Evansville, Ind., Covance has clinics in Madison, Wis.; Daytona, Beach, Fla.; Dallas, Texas; and Leeds, UK. In 2012, Covance conducted more than 100 Phase I trials globally. Covance also has a similar Phase I clinical research alliance with the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in Liverpool, UK. 

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