Rho, Inc, a full-service contract research organisation (CRO) based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has secured a six-year contract worth US$38.9 million from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to provide biostatistical, data management and safety services to the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN).

The NIAID is a co-sponsor of the Immune Tolerance Network, a clinical research programme launched in October 1999 to accelerate the evaluation of promising approaches to inducing, maintaining and monitoring immune tolerance in humans.

Rho, which recently said it had boosted staffing by more than 200% in project management, clinical operations, regulatory affairs and product safety over the last 18 months, will provide similar services to the NIAID-sponsored Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Centers (AADCRCs).

The AADCRCs were established in 1971 to promote integrated, multidisciplinary basic and clinical research into the immunologic mechanisms underlying the onset and progression of asthma and allergic diseases. The overall aim is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of asthma and allergic diseases, and to provide a rational foundation for the development of effective therapeutic and prevention strategies.

Rho will serve as the Statistical and Data Coordinating Center (SDCC) for clinical and non-clinical research activities carried out by the ITN, with responsibility for a broad range of support functions including statistical design and analysis; clinical data collection; database storage and management; quality control; reporting and associated training for clinical site personnel; safety oversight; preparation of study-related materials; and clinical study website development and maintenance.

The CRO will also act as the SDCC for the Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Centers, assisting in the statistical design, analysis and final reporting of clinical trials and mechanistic studies.