An accelerated realignment strategy at etrials Worldwide, the troubled US supplier of eClinical software and services, is expected to produce “modest” cost savings in the second half of 2008, the company has announced.

Despite a healthy trend in new contracts, etrials has reported a succession of quarterly losses following a period of turmoil last year that saw the departure of its former chief executive officer (CEO) John Cline and moves to put the business into turnaround.

As current president and CEO Chip Jennings noted, etrials has undergone “a series of rigorous company-wide process improvement and re-engineering initiatives designed to improve customer service, streamline internal processes, and at the same time reduce costs”. Part of this overhaul is etrials’ automation tool development project, which the company now says is significantly ahead of schedule.

In the streamlined company, all aspects of client-facing operations and product development are being incorporated into two functional segments, Technology and Service Delivery.

Under the leadership of Chuck Piccirillo, who was appointed late last year as etrials’ vice-president of product development and now takes on the role of vice-president of technology, the first of these segments brings together product development, application development, quality control/quality assurance and information technology. The combination is expected to improve speed and effectiveness in the development and deployment of etrials’ technology solutions.

Stuart Thiede, who has been running etrials’ project management group since 1 March 2008 and was previously a senior vice-president at Dendrite International, has been named vice-president of service delivery. This segment encompasses all customer-facing operations including project management, the global help desk and CRO (contract research organisation) service delivery.

In the last quarter etrials recorded an operating loss of US$2.74 million – which included one-off costs of US$1.75 million related to the settlement of patent litigation with Datasci – compared with a US$258,954 operating loss in the fourth quarter of 2006. Net service revenues climbed 16.8% to US$4.93 million.

The company said it closed nearly half of the year’s new contracts in the fourth quarter of 2007. Net new project bookings were worth US$5.4 million versus US$4.7 million in the third quarter of 2007 and US$1.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2006.

etrials will report its results for the first quarter of 2008 later this week.