Monday, February 8, 2010
One investigative site’s bad fortune will become another site’s good as site management organization (SMO) Radiant Research closes its West Palm Beach, Fla., site, and Palm Beach Research Center takes on that site’s lead investigator along with an ongoing trial.
Radiant is in the process of closing its West Palm Beach location with the official closure occurring at the end of March. One of the site’s lead investigators, J. John Goodman, M.D., has already joined Palm Beach Research as its lead dermatology investigator.
Goodman had been a long-time associate of Palm Beach Research and, according to Palm Beach Research’s president and CEO David Scott, is well known in the field for his expertise in dermatology.
“If it was a dermatology study, it was probably done by Dr. Goodman at West Palm Beach for Radiant,” he said. Radiant’s West Palm Beach site opened in 1986 and conducted more than 500 studies, estimated Radiant’s chief operating officer Julie McHugh. The company has 22 investigative sites worldwide with one other Florida site in St. Petersburg. That site will remain open.
“It’s a difficult decision, but we’re always evaluating the markets,” McHugh said. “The economy last year certainly was a very difficult situation. That particular location over the past few years … it’s a difficult market. There’s a lot of competition—Palm Beach Research being one of them—but also the community is very affluent there and not necessarily all that open to doing research. It’s a tough place to have a site.”
Palm Beach Research, however, predicts this year will be the best year yet for the company with patient recruitment higher than ever before, Scott said.
“We were a little sad when they closed Radiant West Palm Beach because it’s not good for the industry,” Scott said. “I like things that are happy for the industry… When a site closes, it’s not great.”
As Radiant was preparing to close the site, Goodman approached the company about possibly working for Palm Beach Research. Not only did Radiant waive his non-compete restrictions, but the SMO helped send a flyer to Radiant’s database of area dermatology patients, notifying them that he would be moving on.
“It’s a small community with the sites. Dr. Goodman is an excellent investigator,” McHugh explained. “We want him to continue to be able to do research, and we wish them well. It was nice to be able to give our subjects options to go somewhere else, to be able to participate in research, because that’s important to us. We do hope they do well in that location.”
Goodman joined Palm Beach in January, and an ongoing psoriasis study with six patients transferred with him. Palm Beach also won an upcoming psoriasis study, which Scott said is much larger, from a different sponsor as a result of Goodman’s addition to Palm Beach’s staff.
“Is business going to double for us? Probably not. The only good benefit is that we took on a dermatologist that we did not have before, and we can do additional dermatology studies that we could not have done before. Is that going to mean that I can retire earlier? Probably not,” Scott said.
“Maybe it will grow, and there will be more—I don’t know. By all means, it could happen that I’ll contact you in a year and say, ‘Look I was wrong, we’ve taken on so many dermatology trials that we’re changing the focus of our research center.’ But, heading into it right now, we’re multispecialty, more internal medicine, more general practice. [Dermatology] is a whole new class for us.”