Interview of Aurélie Weiss-Guimet,who founded ExperTrials, a full-service CRO, in 2011
Aurélie Weiss-Guimet started ExperTrials, a full-service Contract Research Organization, in 2011 in Lyon, France. Her CRO assists Biotech and Medtech companies doing clinical trials in Europe, guiding them every step of the way, from pre-submission to market access. Aurélie has 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and 11 years in team management. We interviewed her to understand how her passion for clinical trials came to be and why she decided to start her own company.
What brought you to work in clinical trials? What is your college background?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Saint-Etienne and have always been interested in sciences. I like a hands-on approach to things and have an interest in project management. For my Master’s, I searched for something that combined running projects and concrete results. I couldn’t see myself doing experimental research but was very much attracted to clinical research. That led me to apply to the Master of Science in Project Management and Clinical Operations at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montpellier, France. It was one of the first Master’s programs with such focus. I was already very driven and convinced the Dean I had to be part of it!
How many years of work experience in the pharmaceutical industry did you have before launching ExperTrials?
I worked in several companies before launching my own. I was lucky enough to spend my end-of-studies internship at Sanofi Global in Paris in 2007. I was able to work in Medical Affairs on quality assurance as well as on post-marketing clinical trials. Sanofi then sent me to Dubai as Clinical Research Associate and Head of Quality. It was an exciting time for me as I was in charge of the monitoring of 76 investigational sites throughout the United Arab Emirates and the setting up of the Quality Management system within the Medical Affairs department. In 2009, I came back to France and started working for a mid-size and then a larger-size CRO. That allowed me to explore different therapeutic areas (oncology, CNS, cardiology, gastrointestinal disorders, endocrinology, hematology, respiratory, vaccines, rare diseases) as well as different steps in clinical trials. I was all the stronger for it.
Starting my own business was something I had in mind very early on.
Why did you decide to launch ExperTrials?
I was eager to take part in each step of a clinical trial, which is something I could not do previously as a CRO staff member. I felt experienced enough in 2011 to launch ExperTrials. It first came about as I was offered a specific project thanks to my knowledge of regulatory affairs. Within a few years, it grew to be a full-on business with a business partner (who is no longer with us) and three employees. I was intent on developing the business and hired Pierre-Marie Gourmoud as Clinical Project Manager and Christoph Wachter as Head of Clinical Operations. They are strong assets to the company.
My goal is to provide our clients with a team of experienced, dedicated, and detail-oriented Clinical Research professionals.
You used to be a Clinical Research Consultant and are now the CEO and Founder of a full-service CRO. How did you manage that?
ExperTrials has been a full-service CRO since 2019 when we had the opportunity to work with an Israeli startup. We structured the company in order to be able to act as their CRO and legal representative for their clinical trial, from phase I to phase IV. We now provide clinical trial support to biotech and medtech startups who want to launch their innovative drug or medical device in Europe. Those startups often have a more limited budget and very specific needs.
We are competitive in the sense that we hand our clients with a tailor-made solution for each trial.
Alongside Pierre-Marie and Christoph, we work with a range of Clinical Research Consultants throughout Europe to provide Clinical Operations services. We also offer services in Pharmacovigilance, Medical Monitoring, Data Management, Biostatistics, and Pharmacoeconomics in order to guide our clients every step of the way during their clinical trial. In the summer of 2022 I also hired Ophélie Orset, a Clinical Project Manager, and Andrzej Piotrowski, a Medical Monitor. With such a team of experts and their dedication to our clients, ExperTrials is ready to take on more challenges!