By Dr Aiden Flynn, Exploristics CEO
I founded Exploristics in April 2009 with a vision of how biostatistics could be better harnessed to support more ground-breaking clinical research and development. Over 13 years later, Exploristics continues to grow with teams working across statistical consulting, programming, data science and software/product development to deliver world-class analytics and specialised software products and services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. To date, we have established a strong track record in supporting statistical innovation and whilst our expertise and products are disease agnostic, we have built in-depth experience in multiple therapeutic areas which has created specialist knowledge of handling a variety of data types, endpoints, designs and analysis methods. At conferences and trade fairs, I am often asked to describe who we are and what we do and find that we don’t fit easily into a listed category. That’s because Exploristics is different; we are much more than just a biostatistics CRO.
Investing in Research and Innovation
We offer a different approach to specialist biostatistics support because we are driven by research and innovation. From the outset we have embedded innovation into the fabric of the company, investing heavily in in-house R&D. Indeed, we invest more than a third of our revenue every year into research and development of new technology and statistical innovation. This has enabled us to develop and commercialise unique services and tools such as our ground-breaking flagship clinical trial simulation software KerusCloud. In the process, we have created a supportive working culture in which talented statisticians can lean into their scientific curiosity and collaborate efficiently to embrace new challenges and solve problems. Our statisticians bring a flexible and innovative mindset that keeps our customers at the cutting-edge of clinical research, whilst maintaining the rigorous standards and processes required by regulators. As a result, we are able to offer an integrated innovative approach to supporting clinical research with a distinct blend of statistical consultancy and state-of-the-art technology-enabled services.
Investing in People
We also value and invest in our people. A critical part of the Exploristics journey and success has been our ability to recruit and retain the best talent. We recruit people who are not only talented technically but who can thrive in our creative working culture where we strive for equity, diversity and inclusion. People are often attracted to Exploristics by the variety of the work that we do and by the high research content. In return, we enable individuals who join us to grow personally and professionally through a variety of development opportunities. A culture of growth is vital for our success, and we deliver numerous internal training courses/sessions to ensure that people are continually flourishing in their career and learning from each other. This means that the people within our teams retain the desire and ability to learn new things. They gain broad experience across therapeutic areas and statistical techniques with opportunities to work within large pharma as part of study/project teams as well as leading projects/studies.
Nurturing Early-Stage Careers
Our investment in people starts early. We are keen to hire people at the early stage of their career and as well as those from other industries. To support this, we have developed an in-house training programme, the Analytics Academy, which offers a great introduction to the statistical and SAS programming side of the pharmaceutical and life science sector for those starting out or wanting to change careers. Training lasts for approximately one year and covers a broad range of programming and statistical topics delivered via a mixture of classroom based and practical, on the job teaching. Through the Analytics Academy, our graduates not only gain statistical skills and experience but also learn how these can be implemented in Exploristics’ particularly flexible and innovative way, building a strong company culture.
Over the years our commitment to innovation and innovative people has not gone unnoticed. Since 2009, we have won awards from both Innovate UK and Invest NI in recognition and support of our efforts as a small Northern Irish company to build unique software tools for the global life sciences market. We have also received a Platinum Award for Innovation (the highest level) from the Department for the Economy and Diversity Mark’s Silver Charter Mark for our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Importantly, our customers like us too and we have built long-standing partnerships with organisations of all sizes ranging from large Pharma to small biotech. These successful relationships have produced award-winning collaborations and have supported key development projects in navigating the disruption of clinical trials brought about by COVID-19. Consequently, Exploristics has been able to weather recent global economic shocks to grow consistently year on year.
Figure 1. Recognition as an Innovate UK Platinum Level Innovator in 2020 and a Diversity Mark Silver Charter Mark holder in 2022.
Breaking the Mould
Taking stock now, the vision I had for Exploristics is coming to fruition. It is a thriving, profitable and innovative enterprise comprised of talented, caring and resourceful people. I am proud of the progress we have made as a team since I started the company all those years ago from my laptop on the kitchen table. Together, we are fundamentally revolutionising what statistics can deliver for organisations developing new clinical interventions. We are helping them to unlock vital information from the data deluge and embrace new technologies to target medicines more effectively and accelerate what they can deliver to individuals with clinical need. To do this we have dared to be different, and it seems to be paying dividends.