A competitive market for low-cost clinical studies has driven the non-profit Mayo Clinic in the US to run down its Mayo Clinical Trial Services unit, with the immediate loss of 30 jobs.

Based in Rochester, Minnesota with a staff of around 100, Mayo Clinic Trial Services says its central laboratory has catered for more than 1,000 studies across all the major therapeutic areas since its inception in 1991. However, an analysis of the unit’s prospects found its business model could not compete in a marketplace characterised by low-cost, routine studies. The same analysis concluded that the operation faced “substantial financial losses into the foreseeable future”.

Earlier this month, the Mayo Clinic decided to “discontinue the sales and marketing efforts of Mayo Clinical Trial Services”, it stated, adding: “Effective immediately, Mayo Clinical Trial Services will no longer accept new clients or studies and will devote its activities to completing studies already started”.

This decision would “allow Mayo to focus its efforts on its successful and growing clinical reference laboratory business, Mayo Medical Laboratories, which provides high-quality, specialised, esoteric laboratory testing services to clients around the world”, it noted.

Clinical trials already under contract are expected to be completed by 2010. Another 27 jobs will go at Mayo Clinical Trial Services during 2009.