US-based drug-development services provider Covance has signed a five-year exclusive agreement with the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust in the UK to work together on early-phase clinical trials at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

Under the agreement, studies will be conducted on behalf of biotechnology and pharmaceutical clients at the Liverpool hospital’s clinical research unit.

The Trust is looking to expand the unit as part of a broader strategic programme scheduled to culminate in the opening of a new £450 million, state-of-the-art hospital at the existing Royal Liverpool site in 2017.

Building up the clinical research unit and further maximising early patient benefits from research at the facility will help to establish the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the surrounding region as a major biosciences hub, the Trust says.


The tie-up with Covance represents “an industry-leading relationship in the world of clinical research”, commented Professor Robert Sutton, the Trust’s director of research and development.

“We have a successful track record in the field of experimental medicine and are unique in the UK in our investment in clinical pharmacology along with our position in the local health and life science industry,” he added.

Covance, which is winding down some of its early-phase facilities in an effort to cope with slack demand in its Early Development segment, has been conducting Phase I clinical trials for more than 35 years across its global network of clinics, which includes a clinical research unit in Leeds, northern England.

Quicker access

“We are looking forward to collaborating with the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust to provide our clients with quicker access to patients in a Phase I setting that supports the high-level needs for specialised care, services and monitoring,” said Rob Aspbury, the company’s vice president and general manager, Global Clinical Pharmacology Services.

Established in 1995, the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest hospital trusts in the North of England, employing more than 5,500 staff and with an annual budget exceeding £400 million.

The Trust delivers services across two sites and three hospitals: the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Broadgreen Hospital and Liverpool University Dental Hospital.