WCG grows exponentially with two new acquisitions: ethical or not?

WIRB-Copernicus Group (WCG) has bought out two more companies, MedAvante and ProPhase. Both firms are involved in electronic clinical outcome assessments (e COA). They each gather and analyze central nervous system (CNS) and behavioral health data.

“With the addition of industry leaders ProPhase and MedAvante, WCG will become the most powerful force in the standardized CNS assessments market with services and tools to improve signal detection,” according to Chairman and CEO Donald Deieso, Ph.D. “At this time, both MedAvanta and ProPhase will operate business as usual, providing the same level of quality customer service and expertise that the industry expects. With the support of WCG, the leadership of both of these organizations will bring together the best scientific, technological and operational expertise to transform the CNS market.”

The CEO of the new joint effort will be Jeffrey Litwin. M.D., who says “combining the strengths of MedAvante and ProPhase with the expansive clinical research expertise and global reach of WCG will provide best-of-class expertise and services for those conducting clinical trials in the challenging fields of CNS and mental health.” The two companies will continue to function on their own within WCG.

Located in Hamilton, New Jersey, MedAvante was started in 2002 with the goal of improving the pharmaceutical industry’s performance in testing psychotropic drugs. Such testing too often included subjective assessments, which were arbitrary and inaccurate. MedAvante developed the practice of “Control Raters” using phone and teleconferencing with fewer raters, at a distance from one another, to judge clinical results.

The company produced Virgil, a cloud-based electronic source platform based in the cyber cloud that provides e COA services for clinical trials in various medical categories. Virgil has carried out more than 687,000 assessments for 56,000 subjects in 233,000 clinical trials. Its results have contributed to numerous approvals by the FDA and EMA.

ProPhase, located in New York, collects, analyzes and manages e PRO data for clinical trials, much like MedAvante. The company uses mobile devices. It also offers educational services for raters, researchers, medical professionals and patients. The company “specializes in the development of new outcome measures, calibration of real world outcomes, placebo response mitigation and prediction of treatment adherence,” according to a statement.

Earlier, the ambitious and fast-growing WCG added several other new subsidiaries including Clintrax Global, located in North Carolina, which negotiates clinical trials worldwide.; Center Watch, which offers clinical trial data; and Three Wire, which does patient recruiting and management.

WCG has also reached an agreement with Karmadata for that company’s clinical trial data management systems and the use of its data.

Chairman Deieso concluded that the company sought growth “while ensuring the risk of progress never outweighs the value of human life.”

Listen to the full podcast discussion on the ethics behind IRB's buying other vendors in clinical research here.