Massachusetts’ Booming Cytel Hiring and Growing Fast in CRO Role
April 7, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Sometimes a company finds it changes course years after it has established itself in one corner of the market. That’s the case with Massachusetts-based Cytel, a provider of clinical trial services and statistical software.
Cytel began as a design software company in the 1980s, but moved into creating software that helps companies with clinical trials. Cytel’s software specializes in designing adaptive studies. Little by little, the company moved from a software consulting role to more of a leading role in the field, Yannis Jemiai, Cytel’s vice president of consulting, software solutions and marketing, told BioSpace in an interview.
“We moved into strategic input into programming and handling more complex analysis, which lead to CRO (contract research organization) services, like statistics, data management, programming and medical writing,” Jemiai said.
Over the years, the company made a name for itself in clinical research and has now become a “go to” organization for companies needing assistance with their clinical research, in part due to the company’s solid reputation for statistical work and software. The company recently launched Enforesys, a data-driven trial enrollment forecasting software. That software was developed as part of “an industry-wide call to lower the rate of missed patient enrollment milestones,” Jemiai said. The forecasting techniques of the software provide clinical operations managers greater ability to assess whether or not feasibility projections are realistic.
“Many statisticians know us from our software, which gives us a leg up on services. We’ve been trying to keep that up and preserve that reputation,” Jemiai said.
Jemiai said biopharmaceutical companies, large and small, are looking for a dedicated team to help them with their clinical work. Cytel has assisted numerous pharmaceutical companies conduct trials that have led to regulatory approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In December, Cytel helped Switzerland-based Actelion Pharmaceuticals with its clinical trials, leading to an approved new drug application with the FDA for Actelion’s next generation hypertension drug, selexipag. Those successes have helped increase Cytel’s business opportunities.
“It’s dramatically changed the focus of our company over the past three years,” Jemiai said. Now contract clinical research encompasses about two-thirds of Cytel’s overall business. In 2015, Cytel worked on approximately 800 short- and long-term clinical projects, Jemiai said. The company’s efforts have helped carry half-a-dozen drugs through regulatory approval, including fulyzaq, an HIV-related diarrhea drug from Salix , and The Medicines Company ’s cangrelor for percutaneous coronary intervention.
Cytel has been growing at such a steady pace that the company hired about 80 new employees last year to handle the increased workload. The majority of the new employees hired are statisticians and programmers, Jemiai said. While 2015 was a good year for the company, Jemiai said 2016 looks to be another strong year as well, which means the company should continue a hiring spree to meet customer demand. The company is looking to add more top level data managers and statisticians to its team, Jemiai said.
“We anticipate growing by about 40 percent this year. It’s a pretty exciting time,” he said. “We like to focus on and deliver quality.”
Jemiai said the company sees numerous opportunities for expansion across North America and in Europe and India. Jemiai said Cytel anticipates the opening of offices in Europe this year.