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I’m posting the first in a series of articles that focus on businesses experiencing success through international expansion. Rather than looking at international giants, I would like to concentrate on small-to-medium businesses. Of interest are a company’s international expansion timelines, strategies, and marketing.

Veristat LLC is a Contract Research Organization (CRO) in the Boston area that provides regulatory filings and research services for clinical trials to emerging small- and mid-sized pharmaceutical companies. Their expansion strategy includes forming partnerships with venture capital firms and acquiring smaller companies. Veristat seeks to add a new service, a new international market, or both with each partnership or acquisition. They offer conference presentations and webinars on topics in their industry, keeping their name “top of mind” with their target market and developing a reputation of freely sharing good information.

Veristat is known for working closely with clients—often having key personnel embedded in the client company. They market their relatively small size as a competitive advantage, emphasizing their adaptability to rapid change.

Company Snapshot

Veristat
Founded:  1994
International Offices: Montreal, Canada; Toronto, Canada; Diss, UK; Manchester, UK; Barcelona, Spain; Taipei, Taiwan.
Headquarters:  Southborough, MA
Employees:  300+
Revenue:  $60.9 million

History

Founding

Founded in 1994 by John Balser, PhD and Barbara Balser, VMD. The founders came from another Contact Research Organization (CRO). They concentrated on what they considered the industry’s weak points: a lack of client collaboration and a focus on marketing and sales (“getting the contract”) over solid science and representing the clients’ interests. 

Several of the company’s first clients came to them through word of mouth. By 1999, the company—still operating from a home office—had 6 employees. In 2003, they purchased their first property in downtown Holliston, Massachusetts. By 2007, Veristat had about 30 employees and expanded into a larger building, still in Holliston. Since then, they have opened US offices in North Carolina and California and moved their headquarters to Southborough, Massachusetts. They improved their regulatory expertise by acquiring US regulatory services company Catalyst Regulatory Services in 2019.

International Expansion

In 2012, Veristat made its first international move, opening an office in Montreal, Canada. In 2016, the company acquired Spero Oncology, a UK CRO, marking their expansion into the European Union; in 2018, they acquired Topstone Research, a Canadian CRO. From 2019 to 2021, Veristat opened new offices in Taipei, Taiwan, Barcelona, Spain, and acquired 2 UK CROs (CRO TCTC Group and SQN Clinical). Also, during this time, Veristat expanded into pharmacovigilance, acquiring Canadian Certus PV Services Inc. 

Today

Veristat is still privately owned. Even today, Veristat reports that about 90% of their business still comes from word of mouth and repeat business. They participated in Cannabinoid clinical trials, beginning in 2020, and COVID-19 clinical trials in 2020 and 2021. After their recent rapid expansion, they have partnered with WindRose Health Investors, LLC, a healthcare-focused private equity fund to recapitalize.

Veristat continues to succeed by concentrating on building solid relationships with its clients and strategic acquisitions.