April 21, 2014
Today Triclinic Labs, Inc. celebrates its 5th anniversary as a contract physical and analytical chemistry development firm. It’s a milestone that few life science firms have the good fortune to celebrate. According to the US Department of Labor, less than half of the life science businesses started in the United States survive five years or less. It doesn’t appear to get any easier with age - especially in the pharmaceutical market we all work in - many of the drugs that were approved in the 1990’s originated from companies that no longer exist; indeed, out of the 42 members of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in 1988, only 11 (~25%) remain today.
Survival is rewarding but seemingly scarce in drug development.
I believe it’s not entirely inappropriate then to state with some entrepreneurial pride that our laboratory has not only survived but also achieved a great level of success in the last five years. We recognize that the key to our enduring success is you, the client. We also know that our future growth and prosperity rest on continuing to put the client first while offering unique capabilities. In the past (and I assume in the future), many clients have and will ask “what makes you different?” When I reflect on that question, some goals we set early on in the company’s growth keep coming to mind as explanations:
Outperform. Innovate. Communicate.
Here’s how we’ve tried to meet those goals -
We seek to outperform the industry. In this business, trust and scientific confidence are all-important. We set the groundwork in 2009 by adopting the mantra: hire the best, give a little more, make the client happy. All of the employees at Triclinic Labs have extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry – our clients would expect that. But “what separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work” as my grandmother used to say. Those experienced people at Triclinic work incredibly hard and go the extra mile so that our clients can be successful.
We’ve established a unique culture in which all of our employees have a stake in the firm - and all of them are compensated on how well they perform on behalf of our clients. We empower each of them to do right by the client – whatever it takes. Over the last five years we’ve had zero employee attrition and growth has been double digit. We believe our pay-for-performance practices and a serious but informal atmosphere are the best ways to keep talented people and align their interests with those of our clients. We think the model works. Our client repeat rate is nearly 100%.
We devote resources to innovation to improve the services we provide. We also know that technology changes quickly and the pharmaceutical industry is always looking to improve. We set aside a substantial portion of our scientists’ time and corporate resources to innovate. There have been many exciting developments but some of the highlights are illustrative. We have developed numerous novel solid-form screening methods that have allowed us to find more leads more quickly and economically. We increased the hit rate on cocrystal screens to an industry-leading 75% using a unique system developed by one of our founders, Scott Childs. We registered with the FDA and are now a cGMP laboratory. Under the creative direction of Simon Bates we’ve written novel software for non-crystalline materials that allows us to identify local structure and predict stability with incredible accuracy. We’ve implemented new techniques for determining phase composition and material distribution in drug substances and products. We’ve added state-of the-art instruments to support client and R&D efforts. And finally we’ve managed to publish numerous articles in peer reviewed journals along the way.
Communication is everything.
We believe effective communication allows us to build trust and respect. It enables Triclinic to establish collaborations where creative ideas, problem solving, and greater productivity can flourish. We know that time lines and decision points are critical in the drug development process and so we encourage our clients to communicate directly with the scientists managing their project. Our corporate philosophy also dictates we are accessible to our clients. We endeavor to provide the highest quality with a sense of urgency. There are no project or account managers in between our clients and scientists - and we seek to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours.
Triclinic’s culture also focuses on executive management involvement in all scientific projects. Our CSO and COO actively manage most projects or closely supervise senior scientists with the necessary experience. We believe this approach provides higher quality and consistency for our clients. We think nothing is more effective in developing new talent than hands-on training and mentoring by experienced scientists.
Our goals are ambitious for the next five years too. Surprisingly, they are not revenue or growth related. "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." as Einstein said.
We don’t want to be the biggest physical and analytical chemistry development group. Our single biggest goal is to continue to do the things necessary to make our clients successful. Ultimately, we know the pharmaceuticals we help develop change lives. To that end, we will continue to invest in the company and our employees. Whether we are tasked with finding new solid forms, characterizing your material, solving a development issue, or helping improve your chemical intellectual property - we want you to reach your goals. If we enable you to achieve milestones we’re confident you’ll recommend us to your colleagues – and that’s really the highest compliment and measure of success we can ask for.
So on behalf of all of the employees at Triclinic Labs, thank you for five fantastic years. It’s been thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding. We look forward to helping you meet your current and future drug development challenges.
To continued success,
Chief Executive Officer