With the recent changes in clinical trial regulations and the growth of clinical trials in Europe, Veristat continues to build its footprint in the European region. Veristat’s VP of Europe, Montserrat Barcélo Riera, recently spoke to Annelot Huijgen of Biotech Finances to share updates on Veristat’s growth trajectory in Europe and how the recent acquisition of French-based medical writing consultancy Scinopsis will benefit Sponsors. Following is the English translation of Montse’s interview. To read a French version of the interview, download the PDF. Veristat is gaining power in Europe
Our shareholder, Windrose Capital Health Investors, supports us in the search for talented teams in Europe," Montserrat Barcélo Rivera, Vice President Europe, Veristat.
In the race to achieve critical mass, Veristat aims to make a breakthrough quickly. The American CRO, ranked twice among the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the United States, has completed four acquisitions in Europe in the past three years, including the recent acquisition of the French company Scinopsis. Montserrat Barcélo Riera, Vice President Europe at Veristat, discusses the ambitions and challenges of the company.
BF: You have just announced the acquisition of the French company Scinopsis. Could you please elaborate on your ambitions in Europe, specifically in France?
Montserrat Barcélo Riera: Veristat was founded by scientist Barbara Balser and her statistician husband John 29 years ago in Massachusetts. Our main strength lies in providing a powerful combination of scientific and regulatory knowledge in various therapeutic areas (oncology, rare diseases, coronavirus, etc.) and the ability to collect patient data and utilize it to support biotech companies throughout their clinical development and product commercialization. Our company, now led by Patrick Flanagan, established a presence in Europe by acquiring a company in Manchester in 2020. This team supported the very first authorization of a gene therapy. When I joined Veristat two years ago, we had twelve team members in Europe. After four acquisitions, we now have nearly 200 employees in the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, and recently, France. It was important for us to be present here in order to offer direct contact to the numerous players in your vibrant market, thanks in part to the fantastic research tax credit. This French establishment will also facilitate talent recruitment, which is crucial. The Scinopsis teams, specialized in regulatory and medical communication document writing and based in Fréjus, Brighton (UK), Germany, and Portugal, complement our teams in North America and Asia. This acquisition is a clear demonstration of our commitment to expanding in Europe.
BF: Are you planning for further acquisitions?
Montserrat Barcélo Riera: Veristat has been ranked among the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. for the second time in 2022. We will continue to enhance our expertise and expand our geographic coverage to best meet the evolving needs of our clients. More and more biotech companies are seeking to outsource functions such as regulatory authority interactions, as well as product development and transitioning to Phase III. Our shareholder, Windrose Capital Health Investors, supports us in finding talented teams in Europe, particularly in Germany and Asia, where we aim to strengthen our position.
BF: In 2021, Veristat was involved in one out of every ten FDA approvals. In 2022, you supported eight approvals, the majority of which were for treatments of rare diseases.
Montserrat Barcélo Riera: I believe that one of the reasons for our success, in addition to our scientific and statistical expertise, is the close proximity we maintain with our often under-pressure clients. We are proud to have collaborated with Spanish company HIPRA on the approval of their vaccine, the only European vaccine against Covid. All this was accomplished in a very short period of time, mobilizing our teams in Asia and the United States as well. We have great ambitions in Europe.
BF: How do you assess the European market?
Montserrat Barcélo Riera: We probably need to further develop transnational research programs and public-private partnerships, as is done in the United States. I see many positive developments, whether it is in regulations, particularly in the field of rare diseases, or in terms of investors, whose numbers and capabilities are increasing for the benefit of European biotechs.
Interview conducted by Annelot Huijgen.
To read a French version of the interview, download the PDF