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Health Care

Insiders: CRO Still Strong Here

By Josh Splilker, posted Jul 24, 2009

Despite PPD Inc.’s announcement earlier this month that the company was releasing about 80 employees, industry insiders say clinical research organizations (CROs) are still strong in Wilmington.

Though PPD cut about 270 jobs company-wide, it may not be indicative of the industry as a whole. Brian McMerty of The Wilmington Group said its CRO/Pharma staffing requests are busy.

“We’ve actually seen an uptick in those areas in particular. Clients are being much more selective as far as the candidates that they would consider. They are looking for people that would bring value immediately,” McMerty said. He commented that the 270 employees laid off from PPD nationwide is “a small amount.”

McMerty said that though there were declines in hiring last year, this year has picked up steam. “In the past couple months, opportunities have increased.”

Inclinix, though smaller than PPD said that their projects have increased this year.

“Inclinix has three times as many projects versus this time last year. We continue to hire to meet the growth driven by this new business,” said Tobin Geatz, president and CEO of Inclinix.

After the layoffs, PPD officials said the company does not plan any more cuts.

“Demand for our services in North America has been lower than we expected. Over the past year, we have taken steps to cut unnecessary expenses, drive efficiencies and reorganize in ways to best address the needs of our clients,” said Louise Caudle, a spokesperson with PPD, in a
statement.

The clinical research organization is one of Wilmington’s largest employers, with about 1,600 employees. Further cuts were made across the company’s North America locations, for a total of 270 people released.

The company has 5,800 employees in North America and about 10,000 worldwide.

“Although the current CRO market is challenging and required us to take this action, we remain very optimistic about the long-term prospects for the CRO industry as a whole and our company in particular,” Caudle said.

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