The rapid development of numerous, highly effective COVID-19 vaccines and therapies over the past year has been truly remarkable. While large biopharmaceutical players have made the headlines, many of these treatments were brought to market so expeditiously through partnerships with contract research organizations (CROs) and the decades of research and scientific expertise they bring to the drug discovery and development process.

Viroclinics-DDL is a leading specialized contract research organization, operating at the forefront of global infectious disease challenges. Founded in 2001 within the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Viroclinics began as a niche laboratory within the field of influenza and over the years has grown in scale and expertise to provide services across numerous respiratory diseases and other viral targets, including RSV, MERS coronavirus, SARS-CoV, polio, hepatitis, measles and dengue. Today, Viroclinics serves the global biopharmaceutical industry with a full range of services to support and help accelerate the market entry of innovative drugs, vaccines, and antivirals from discovery to launch. Since the beginning of our partnership with Viroclinics, we have been impressed by the impact and influence of the company’s scientific knowledge, longstanding experience and capability in respiratory infectious disease research services. In the last year, with the onset and rapid spread of COVID-19, Viroclinics was able to mobilize quickly and, as pressure intensified to develop effective ways to combat and prevent the virus, play an influential role in the global fight against COVID-19.

At the forefront in the fight against infectious disease: Insights from Viroclinics CEO Davide Molho

“While there have been a lot of positive developments in the fight against viral infections, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done and a lot yet to be discovered. There is a need for better antiviral drugs, including those that are effective against variants and mutations that are happening all the time. We believe Viroclinics is uniquely positioned to continue to be at the forefront in developing new drugs and vaccines to support the constantly evolving fight against infectious diseases.”

Constant Vigilance to Emerging and Evolving Viral Threats

Over the last two decades, we’ve seen an increasing global focus on the risk of infectious diseases. Diseases like influenza, RSV and hepatitis have continued to consistently impact millions of people worldwide every year, and widespread outbreaks – including SARS-CoV in 2002, H1N1 in 2009 and MERS-CoV in 2012 and the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic – have caused global and regional disruption. As the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated, novel viruses and variants hold the potential to escalate quickly in our globalized era – with devastating impact. All of this serves to underscore the important work of laboratory-based CROs in developing the capabilities and expertise to quickly provide their pharma and biotech partners with thoroughly analyzed and reliable data to help inform their decision-making in order to bring safe, effective drugs to market.

The Rise of the CRO

Drug discovery and vaccine development is a costly and complex process. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies alike are proactively seeking opportunities to control costs, remain flexible and gain a competitive edge, and as a result, we’ve seen dramatic growth in the global CRO market as more and more of the development workflow is outsourced. To ensure unbiased review of key data, regulatory requirements now necessitate the involvement of third-party service providers for certain aspects of the trial process. The value of bringing a drug to market earlier can be measured both in direct value for the pharmaceutical sponsors and, in the case of COVID-19, lives saved. CROs such as Viroclinics have been able to leverage their domain expertise, robust processes and state-of-the-art technology to help their pharma partners run more rapid, efficient and reliable clinical trials.

We’ve also witnessed demand for external expertise and outsourced services from biotech companies as product innovators seek to add efficiency, capacity and external expertise to the development process. We believe CROs such as Viroclinics that offer domain expertise, global reach through an international network of processing labs and intercontinental logistics operations are well-positioned to serve the growing demand of a global customer base that is working to solve global problems.

Viroclinics-DDL is a leading global specialty contract research organization, serving the biopharmaceutical community with a broad range of preclinical research, clinical diagnostic, assay development and clinical trial logistic services. It supports its customers with a workforce of more than 300 highly specialized, dedicated scientists and operates a number of state-of-the-art laboratories in the Netherlands and China, with a network of 35 processing labs across the globe. Summit Partners has been an active investor in the life sciences sector for more than three decades. We are proud to support numerous companies in their work to develop products, technologies and services that change and save lives.

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