New Platform Targets CRA Management

By V.L. Craven, posted Apr 14, 2015
The idea for CRA360 was born when co-founders Matthew Orr and Tobin Geatz realized they saw some of the same problems in the clinical trial industry. They had over 18 years of combined experience in the business, and though the problems were obvious, the solution was less so.

“At the time we didn’t know how we were going to fix it, but we knew if we threw around enough ideas something would come out,” Orr said.

After “six to eight months of making notes on napkins” they had their idea.

Orr describes CRA360 as “an online software platform for contract research organizations [CROs] such as PPD or pharmaceutical companies to connect, hire and manage clinical research associates [CRAs].”

CRA360 is meant to be a tool for people on both sides of the hiring equation – both human resources
or project managers and then the CRAs themselves. Companies will be able to post jobs and see in-depth information on prospective hires, but it will also allow CRAs to build a comprehensive resume in the long term, officials said.

“We’re there for the CRAs to have a place they can really register, put themselves out there, promote themselves – manage their careers, in essence,” Orr said.

Companies can use the system for existing employees, as well, with more information not generally provided by most resumes. The ­information goes into the CRA360 management system.

While there are a couple of similar products on the market, Orr said none have what he calls the “secret sauce”.

He said people often think it must be like LinkedIn but added, “If you saw what we’re producing on each CRA, LinkedIn doesn’t even scratch the surface of the information that we’re putting out there.”

The platform will allow CRAs to build their portfolio throughout their careers, he said.

“As I told a CRA yesterday, the trials are your work portfolio just as a homebuilder has pictures of the houses that he built,” Orr said. “I strongly believe that the trials they work on and the tasks they do during those trials – that’s their portfolio – and they need to put that out there. And we’re creating a way for them to do that.”

One of the inspirations for the company was Orr’s previous company, Wilmington-based Modoc Research, which he started seven years ago with his mother. It’s a small- to medium-sized CRO that runs clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies.

Orr was in charge of the business side of the company including finance, legal and HR.
Modoc is now the alpha tester for the new company.

“They’ve already brought on 11 CRAs that we’re using to pilot all of the services at CRA360.
So their feedback right now is critical,” Orr said. “‘Change this, change that. Improve upon this. Add this feature.’ So we’re taking all their feedback every day and improving before we really get out there. So it’s been very beneficial.”

The soft launch was in February, and the team is continuing to expand and improve the growing platform.

“Our feature list is a mile long,” Orr said. “So Charles [Laymon, company chief technology officer] is going to be gainfully employed for the rest of his life.”

The company is continuing development on the operations side of the business and has begun approaching clients.

“We have spoken to a couple companies who’ve shown some interest,” Orr said, “and the potential customers we’ve talked to have been extremely positive.”
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