For pharmaceutical companies to thrive in a competitive marketplace, it is crucial to have a strong understanding of the customers’ demands. Recently, there has been an increased emphasis on Contract Research Organizations (CRO) as they are seen as vital partners in achieving significant results for pharma companies.
The CRO industry is growing at a rapid pace with the recent rise of global health concerns such as the ongoing COVID-19, Ebola, Zika, and other diseases. CROs are at the forefront of drug and medical device development. They provide a cost-effective way for pharmaceutical companies to outsource research and clinical trials, while also mitigating risks by selecting from a variety of CRO options.
As the global healthcare market continues to grow, the industry is seeing an increasing number of CROs offering innovative services and solutions that are driving new treatments forward in the field. One prominent name among such organizations is Clinmark.
“Clinmark is a boutique CRO, providing complete solutions for clinical development programs, from the scientific concept, design, execution till marketing authorisation.”
In the following interview, Marek Wasiluk, the CEO of Clinmark shares valuable insights into the company’s operations and offerings, the challenges it encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic, his vision for scaling the company in the years to come, and much more.
Following are the highlights of the interview:
Please brief our audience about Clinmark, its mission, and the key aspects of its stronghold within the contract research and niche.
This year Clinmark is celebrating its 20th anniversary of establishment. Over this time, we went on a very exciting and successful road – from being a micro business to a modern, flexible, and strong organization, supporting our clients with the whole range of R&D services.
Clinmark is a boutique CRO, providing complete solutions for clinical development programs, from the scientific concept, design, execution to market authorisation. What is unique for us is the fact that we have managed to develop and implement proprietary methodology and tools, to easily organise and conduct research projects in any country of the world.
So, we can set-up and execute research project almost like a global CRO, being more cost effective, flexible, client oriented and friendly. We operate mainly in Europe and Asia, but we have an evidently sound experience in US and Africa.
Our goal is always to perform a study in the regions which best fit that particular project. It means that we are not attached to subjective criteria while setting up a study, but look at it from every perspective (operational, epidemiological, regulatory, quality, costs and of course Sponsor suggestions and expectations).
Such an approach allows us to incredibly quickly set-up and initiate the project. As an example, we provide first subject in the study within 45 days from the project awarded (this is our fastest achievement)!
The model we use very well fits any research project, but our clients especially appreciate it when we use it to rescue the project we are requested to take over. It took 5 years to develop our business model, to validate and improve. It is a totally new concept and valuable in the CRO world, and I’m pretty sure that within few years, it will successfully spread out together with our growth.
Tell us more about the offerings which make your company stand out from the competition?
Our business model is based on five principles:
- To hear our client. It is key to communicate, and to understand the expectation and needs from one side, and to provide the client with the objective, full picture of projects. We are very transparent in our work, and prefer model, in which client knows everything about the project.
- Operational excellence meaning that we are experts and do our work professionally
- The clinical studies are complex by nature and regulations. We make them as simple as possible by avoiding bureaucracy, bottlenecks, unnecessary operations.
- This is our blood – an integral part of Clinmark. I’m personally an ISO 9001 auditor by training and experience. So, quality has been and always will be a part of our company culture.
- Flexibility plus the ease to cooperate. We are known for being very easy to work with. This is our philosophy and is evident in our business model.
In addition, because we have a wise business structure, we are a very flexible and scalable company.
What is your opinion on the impact of the current pandemic on the global pharmaceutical sector, and what challenges did you face during the initial phase of the pandemic?
The pandemic affected all the world and all businesses. For some it was lethal, for some it was less impactful, and miniscule for a few sectors. The pharmaceutical industry is quite resistant to crisis, as it is about people’s health, diseases, and problems. But R&D is slightly different, as it is sensitive for a delay. The ongoing projects must go on, as it is for patient safety.
Clinmark fortunately is a modern and flexible organisation, with expert top management staff. So, the pandemic time has passed quite smoothly. I can even say that it has enabled us to implement solutions which we had been thinking before for some time. So overall, I see the pandemic as an opportunity, and we have exited it stronger.
With continuous development in technologies such as AI and big data, what is your prediction about the future of the pharma sector pertaining to contract research and consulting?
New technologies, like big data, AI are a revolution for the world. I think that this is a breakthrough almost the same as first flight of the Wright Brothers in 1908. The aircrafts have changed the lifestyle, business models, and human lives. The same happens now with digitalisation of the world. We should be happy and excited to be a part of it. I’m personally a very tech savvy person, fascinated by the technology world, so I’m crossing fingers for its growth.
As an established leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the contract research niche?
Enter it. It is a fascinating, prospective, and a stable business. But not the easiest, especially at the beginning. Like everywhere, there are challenges sometimes. But if you know the directions and have the right people around, for sure you will be successful.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
Last year, Clinmark was awarded Most Inspiring Company of 2020. In 2019 our project management capabilities were acknowledged; we were nominated by Pharma Tech Outlook as a top 10 Clinical Trial Management CROs in Europe.
We are continuously growing, year by year. This year, as the pandemic has stabilised, Clinmark plans to widely develop its business model, and expand its operational capabilities. If everything goes well in one year, we will be in a different place than today, with double of the current revenue.
Meet the Team
A company, and in particular the Contract Research Organisation, cannot exist without its people. They are like the blood of the organisation, which carries oxygen and vitamins, but may also carry toxins. The right people can inspire you and direct to success and will carry you through crisis. Clinmark is lucky to have the right people with passion and interesting personalities.
Here’s what the leadership team has to say about their journey in the industry through their role at Clinmark:
Marek Wasiluk, Chief Executive Officer: It is always difficult to talk about myself. My whole life is driven by passion and curiosity. I have been doing many things in my professional carrier, I’m DMD by education, graduated MBA, accomplished 3 other post-graduate studies, and a trained ISO 9001 lead auditor. I’ve been in the clinical research industry since 1999. I love what I’m doing, and Clinmark is not only my baby, but also my love.
Grzegorz Pogorzelski, Chief Strategy Officer: I started my carrier as a Medical Doctor working as a physician at one of the regional hospitals. Upon discovering clinical research studies, I decided to change my professional path and be a part of this world. A lot of challenges, different duties and inspirations filled up my professional life. I assumed this was my destiny. However, when I met Marek and joined Clinmark 6 years ago, unexpectedly new doors have opened. Till this day, it is still a fantastic ride with possibility to create unique masterpieces and generate synergy.
Jacek Banach, Head of Business Development: I met Marek during one of the consulting meetings I gave at that time. It was over 7 years ago. Thanks to Marek, the global approach and trust that he gave me, I successfully expanded my passion to connect with professionals from all around the word, delivering unique solutions to the sponsors as the Head of Business Development. Working in clinical trials in international ecosystem gives me fulfilment and the feeling that working together we can improve health around the world. With an opportunity to have fantastic people around, we are building something exciting, having not only satisfaction but also fun.