Would you like to learn more about ExperTrials? We have created a series of blog posts that are designed to let you know what our CRO is all about: its management style, its chosen size, and its market niche. In our first blog post, Aurélie Weiss-Guimet, ExperTrials’s CEO and founder (read her full portrait here), explained how horizontal leadership is key to the way she manages her business. In this second post, we asked her why she wants to keep her business small-sized and why she chose American and European biotech companies as her market niche.

ExperTrials is considered to be a small-sized CRO. Why do you want to keep it small?

Every entrepreneur’s goal is to grow his or her business. However, I told myself from the very beginning that I wanted to keep our CRO small. The horizontal management style I believe in (see dedicated post) can only work in small structures: it could never work in a multinational company with a complex hierarchical organization.

My primary objective is not to make a profit and be bought out by a big CRO, as many CROs in Eastern Europe are doing. I just want us to have fun. We are passionate about what we do. What we want is to deliver top-quality work and find pleasure in doing our job because that is the best way to deliver that kind of quality. Fulfillment at work is based on a love of effort and the trust placed in my team.

Staying small enables us to target small startups: they can identify themselves with us, we function the same way they do, use the same language, based on agility and flexibility.

« Remaining a small-sized CRO enables us to maintain our agility, which is a key factor for our customers. » – Aurélie Weiss-Guimet, CEO and Founder of ExperTrials

You have chosen small biotech companies as your niche market. Can you explain why?

In my opinion, small biotechs are the very definition of innovation: they start out with a small team and fight tooth and nail to defend their product. I am impressed by these small teams, by their backgrounds and their determination. They are primarily researchers who strive to find funding and convince investors. They have to turn into entrepreneurs because their aim is to market their product. Above all, however, they want patients to benefit from their medical breakthrough. Most of them treat conditions for which there is an unmet medical solution: this represents a huge challenge. They also have many competitors so they need to stand out in the crowd.

These biotechs know how to fight and defend themselves throughout the financing and pre-clinical phases. It becomes more complicated for them when it comes to the human clinical phase: this is when they need to outsource this activity to a clinical CRO. Often, they don’t know much about this part of the process and have not heard of companies like ours. They know the big CROs, but they don’t know us. Unfortunately, the big CROs don’t always meet the needs of those small biotechs: their model is adapted to big pharma. Communication between bigger CROs and startups don’t live up to their expectations and this has a huge impact on the quality of the clinical study. How many startup projects have failed because of the turnover of project managers or CRAs in these big CROs? They sometimes change every month. We at ExperTrials guarantee the same Clinical Project Manager with his/her backup and the same CRAs will be working on a clinical trial throughout an entire phase.

« Small biotechs are the future of medical innovation and their clinical development deserves the same attention as that of big pharmas. » – Aurélie Weiss-Guimet, CEO and Founder of ExperTrials

Your goal is – and has always been – to work for American or foreign startups wishing to carry out clinical trials in Europe, or European startups wishing to conduct research in the USA. Tell us why.

As a freelance consultant, I started working internationally, with an American startup and an Israeli startup. I immediately understood how they operated: their internal Clinical Project Managers didn’t have any experience in Europe and were not able to coordinate their consultants by themselves. Thus, these startups thought they had no other choice but to entrust the management of their trial to large CROs. For me this model was far from ideal! I told myself that we had to find a solution to allow them to not depend indefinitely on large CROs – and show them that a smaller, highly capable, less expensive CRO could better meet their needs.

When ExperTrials became a CRO, we decided to provide customers with an experienced team dedicated to their projects, with specially targeted project management. We also offer other services that go hand-in-hand with clinical operations, so as to give them comprehensive support, i.e. data management, pharmacovigilance, medical monitoring, and market access.

Our network of consultants enables us to operate throughout the entire European continent. This network is made up of people with whom Christoph, our Head of Clinical Operations, and I have worked or who have been recommended to us. The CRAs we work with (see our blog post on the subject here) have a real passion for clinical research: they have made a decision to consistently work on clinical sites. They are entrepreneurs with a thorough knowledge of local sites and that they choose their own customers: a relationship of trust is established between us. This extensive consultants network allows us to quickly respond to our customers’ needs.

We have also appointed a Clinical Operations Manager in the USA, Ghazala Kabani, who is currently setting up a team of consultants within the USA to meet the needs of European startups wishing to conduct clinical research in the USA.

Are you an American or European startup in need of help with your clinical research?

ExperTrials can help you get your drug or medical device to market faster.