Covance set to become a decentralized CRO in a push to build resilience into its business

The global CRO looks to become a virtual CRO as it looks to bounce back from the impact Covid-19 pandemic has had on its business.



Acquired by LabCorp in 2015 for US$6.5 billion, Covance is set to shift away from being a traditional site-based contract research organization to being siteless. The global giant aims to become a leading player in what is called decentralized clinical trial (DCTs) or virtual trials which allow patients to take part in clinical trials from the comfort of their own homes. To achieve this, the company is looking to invest significantly in solutions such as telehealth, connected devices, digitization of mobile nursing visits as well as sample collections which will be key to enabling such trials.

The company’s CEO, Paul Kirchgraber, mentioned they anticipate having the majority of new studies include a decentralized component by the end of 2021. Though virtual trials were pioneered by Science37 several years ago, many CROs like Covance believe these siteless trials are the future of the industry as they try to recover from the chaotic impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on their business models as well as the rest of the industry worldwide. While it is hard for anyone to argue about virtual trials being the natural progression for the industry, the significant investments required to make these a reality remains a barrier for most industry players.