This November, we are celebrating the US holiday of Thanksgiving. As we join our American colleagues in marking the occasion, Kate Shaw, our Founder, and Chief Executive Officer, looks back on one achievement she is most thankful for – our first international office in the US – and shares how this is already benefiting our patient recruitment services for both our clients and staff.

Accelerating patient recruitment in clinical trials

Our mission is to accelerate patient access to vital life-changing therapies. We do this by employing a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ approach, developing and implementing bespoke strategies to ensure clinical trial patient recruitment is completed in a timely manner, and patients remain engaged throughout the study. Our approach has resulted in great success for our clients and Innovative Trials’ reputation as a leading global clinical trial patient recruitment and retention company has grown significantly since we began more than 10 years ago. Having a physical office in the US has long been a priority for us at Innovative Trials and we were delighted to officially announce its opening in July.



Why did it happen?

We chose the US as the base for our first international office for several reasons. The US clinical trials market is the biggest in the world and we have recognised for a while the need to physically establish ourselves within it. Our office means we are now actively inside this market rather than looking in from the outside, which was what it was like when we only had our UK HQ. We are finding this is making us, as a company, and our patient recruitment services a more attractive prospect for potential clients, particularly smaller US companies that may not have previously considered working with a clinical trial patient recruitment company based outside the US.

We know many US clients prefer to work with US-based companies because a common timezone makes it easier to communicate and collaborate on projects. By having a US presence through our new office and full-time employees, we can support our clients better than ever before. 

Previously, our working days were seven-and-a-half hours between 9am and 5pm GMT. Now, thanks to our new office and the ability to work across multiple time zones, this has effectively been extended to 16+ hours per day. We are able to work on projects in the UK and hand over any work to our US colleagues and vice versa. This ensures projects run smoothly and clients have a constant line of communication. It is much better for our clients.

We are also excited about the broader benefits this will bring.

  • We are now able to employ staff in the US rather than contract them, which will give them greater benefits and employee protections.
  • It provides opportunities for our UK staff to work in the US and vice versa for professional development purposes.
  • It will enable Innovative Trials, as a company, to become even more diverse in the staff we recruit and the knowledge they bring.


Our US & UK offices and the countries where we operate

How has the general reaction been to the new US office?

We have had a very positive response to news of our first US office. It has genuinely excited people and I have had so many congratulatory messages via LinkedIn.


How is our US office making a difference to clients?

As I’ve mentioned, our US office ensures we have a constant line of communication with our clients and any challenges associated with working across different timezones is mitigated.

But it’s more than that. Clinical trial patient recruitment is more established as a career in the US with people spending their careers in the field compared with other countries where people generally enter the discipline after several years of direct clinical trial work. Our office means we can take advantage of this unique experience and enhance our patient recruitment services. Clients will not only benefit from this but also our local expertise in the market as a whole.


Why did you choose to base your office in North Carolina?

Raleigh in North Carolina is part of the Research Triangle – the epicenter for pharmaceutical research and development. With major pharmaceutical companies based in the area, it was the obvious choice for our office location. The office has opened us up to endless operational and commercial opportunities and we are already seeing benefits in the number of conversations we are having with interested companies. It is positive progress that we expect to continue.


How does the new office benefit staff at Innovative Trials?

As clinical trial patient recruitment is more established in the US there should be a lot of experience that our UK team will be able to draw on and learn from. I fully expect there to be opportunities for our HQ staff in the UK to travel to the States and work from there for a period of time and vice versa. We, as a company, are keen to ensure all employees can develop personally and professionally through meaningful experiences like this.

Our current staff, who were previously contracted through a third-party company, are also now officially employed by Innovative Trials [through our US subsidiary, Innovative Trials Inc. – a requirement for the establishment of a physical business presence in the country]. This means they have better employment protections and benefits and can feel part of the global team.


Will you be recruiting more US-based employees?

We definitely want to build the US team, but I think it’s important to stress that our UK team remains just as vital to our success. No one team is more important than the other. We recognise that the global economy is not the most stable right now, so we want to grow in the right way to provide reassurance to our clients and staff. We know Human Resources (HR) operates differently in the US compared with the UK, so we will need support in that area. We will also be looking for more project managers and business development leads, but we will take it slowly and ensure we get the absolute best people for those roles.


When you started Innovative Trials more than a decade ago, did you ever think you would eventually open an international office?

Opening an international office wasn’t necessarily in my plan when I co-founded Innovative Trials in 2010, but it was certainly in the back of my mind as an unspoken dream. It’s a very exciting move forward for the company and one that has only been made possible thanks to our fantastic team. Everyone has contributed to Innovative Trials’ growth and success. It’s amazing, and I’m excited about what comes next.


In need of clinical trial patient recruitment and retention services for your studies? Contact us to find out how our site- and patient-centric ‘boots-on-the-ground’ approach can help accelerate your clinical research.