Hertfordshire company bucks economic trend to become multi-million pound business

Date: Monday 24 June 2019

A Hertfordshire-based clinical trials patient recruitment company, which began as a one-woman operation in 2010, has announced record turnover and growth, and appointed its first non-executive director. The news flies in the face of current UK economic uncertainty, particularly within the life sciences industry.

Innovative Trials works with pharmaceutical companies globally to help them recruit patients into clinical trials to test potential new treatments. The company, which is based near Welwyn Garden City, recently recorded a turnover of more than £5 million during its last financial year – an increase of around 38 percent on the year before – and was accepted onto the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme.

Kate Shaw, the founder and CEO of Innovative Trials, said: “I set up Innovative Trials, after spending many years working for pharmaceutical companies and seeing the challenges they face when developing new treatments. I knew I could offer a solution by focusing my energy and experience on one of the most crucial parts of the process – patient recruitment for clinical trials.

“Clinical trials are a vital part of bringing new treatments to market, but finding people who are eligible to take part in them isn’t easy. This can cost companies tens of thousands of pounds each day in delays, but more importantly, means effective treatments are slow to get to the people who need them.

“In the nine years since I launched Innovative Trials, we’ve helped our clients to speed up the process of clinical trial recruitment so that treatments can get to people faster. We were recently selected by a major, global pharmaceutical company to help recruit and retain patients for clinical trials relating to conditions such as breast cancer, schizophrenia and Crohn’s disease. It’s a fantastic achievement for us and one we want to continue to build on.”

With the UK’s economic growth described as ‘subdued’ by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee(MPC) as recently as last month, Innovative Trials is proving that Brexit doesn’t have to mean job losses or reduced business investment. The company has grown its headcount by 43 percent over the last 12 months to cope with demand and now employs around 33 members of staff in the UK. A further 60 people are stationed overseas in 58 countries to help clinical trial researchers recruit eligible patients and keep them involved.

Shaw added: “I’m so proud of our team; every person here has contributed to Innovative Trials’ success year-on-year. We’re a small, but growing company with big ambitions and it’s great to see those being realised. What helps to set us apart is our experience; many of our staff have directly worked on clinical trials in the past, so they know first-hand about the challenges of finding – and keeping – eligible patients. It makes us, as a company, uniquely placed to find practical solutions and keep treatment development on track.”

In addition to its recent growth and success, Innovative Trials has appointed Gary Lumby MBE FCIBS as its first non-executive director. Lumby has extensive knowledge of the business banking sector, having been UK Director of SME Banking at Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks until 2011. He has also held a similar role at Barclays Bank and was President of the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry for three years. He now runs Focus on Success Ltd, a management consultancy company, and advises businesses on areas including growth strategy, business development, risk management and corporate governance.

Speaking about his appointment, Lumby said:“I met Kate last year and was struck by her business acumen and ambition. She has proven that determination and talent can lead to success even in these uncertain economic times, and I am delighted to be on board and use my experience to help drive Innovative Trials to even greater heights.”

1. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has previously noted that “UK data could be unusually volatile in the near term, due to shifting expectations about Brexit in financial markets and among households and businesses.”

2.Innovative Trials’ financial year runs from 1 June – 31 May annually. The turnover figure of more than £5m relates to the financial year ending 31 May 2019.