Q, Name the world's largest central laboratory network.
A. That's easy! It's Covance. Here is the company's description of itself from it's own web home page (emphasis mine):
We provide a portfolio of preclinical and clinical development and commercial service offerings — delivered through industry-leading nonclinical testing services, the world's largest central laboratory network, and a global team of clinical trial professionals and cardiac safety experts.
Covance is one of the world's largest CROs (contract research organization) and when a company manages clinical research, it is also provides laboratory testing. As noted here, company sales for 2005 amounted to $1.25 B and its one years sales growth for that same year was 18.4%. This company link indicates that the company operates in 18 countries and has more than 7,000 employees worldwide.
Hoover's financial service describes the Covance mission in the following way:
Behind every great drug company stands a contract research organization (CRO). Covance develops and carries out preclinical and clinical trials of potential commercial drugs. Services include toxicology studies, biostatistical analysis, clinical data management, and study design and monitoring. Covance will also assist a company in moving a drug through the regulatory approval process.
I have commented previously on the topic of offshoring of laboratory services here and here. If I were asked to pick a candidate for the company most likely to succeed in managing such a business, I would select Covance. It is already in the business of performing and contracting for sophisticated offshore clinical lab testing, managing global biologic specimen logistics, and aggregating and analyzing lab test results from around the world. It also understands lab QC and credentialing on a global basis. Given their success as a CRO, however, they may not be looking for another business.
To illustrate their current skill in contracting for offshore lab testing, here is a description of the company's current laboratory reach into China:
In China, which is a key location for clinical trials — including those related to the treatment of diabetes — Covance utilizes the Hua Shan Hospital's Center of Laboratory Medicine as a regional laboratory service provider to meet biopharmaceutical sponsors' in-country testing needs. With this certification, sponsors are assured that their Covance clinical trial specimens are tested in a global network of NGSP Level 1 certified laboratories — in China, as well as in Sydney, Australia; Singapore; Geneva, Switzerland; and Indianapolis, Indiana in the United States.