Skip to main content

Rockville life sciences firm, Emmes, launching rare disease center in Europe

Emmes' new acquisition in Spain will be a hub for specialized clinical trial work focused on rare diseases

Emmes’ Chief Human Resource Officer, Jennifer Hester, serves as Vice Chair on Rockville Economic Development, Inc’s (REDI) Board of Directors. REDI congratulates Emmes on their growth, and are grateful for the continued involvement and guidance of Ms. Hester.

Article originally published by the Washington Business Journal on November 4, 2021

Rockville clinical research firm the Emmes Co. is preparing to launch a new rare disease center in Europe, less than six months after snapping up a U.K.-based company focused on rare diseases and amid a major growth period for the local business.

The new center is slated to open Nov. 15 in Barcelona, Spain, as a hub for specialized clinical trial work focused on rare diseases. That’s an area in which Orphan Reach — the company Emmes snapped up in May — specializes. And the new facility stands to double Orphan’s clinical study portfolio over the next year, according to Emmes.

Traci Clemons, chief research officer for Emmes, will lead the rare disease center along with Thomas Ogorka, the firm’s managing director, and Nazira Maruf, its vice president of project management.

“We want to make it easier for both rare disease focused biopharma companies and public sector research institutions to accelerate development of new treatment options for rare disease patients by leveraging a highly specialized global [clinical research organization] committed to rare disease clinical research,” Emmes President and CEO Christine Dingivan said in a statement. “By harnessing the invaluable experience of the combined organization in over 50 rare disease indications, we will provide greater value to patients, investigators, and clients.”

The company did not immediately return a request for comment about its investment in the project and other details about its growth. We will update this post as we hear back.

Emmes — which conducts research and runs clinical studies for other life sciences firms and biotechs, as well as public sector customers — acquired Orphan in a bid to tackle a massive market opportunity, as more than 7,000 rare diseases plague patients around the world, many without treatments. With Orphan under its umbrella, Emmes would be positioned to penetrate the international market and run global trials, Dingivan told us at the time. “Its ability to locate patients throughout the world for clinical trials in rare and orphan diseases will be a big asset for us.”

Now, the combined organization gets ready to open the new site while executing its growth plans under a new structure. Dingivan, a WBJ Women Who Mean Business honoree who assumed the top slot at Emmes in September 2020, split the business into two units — Emmes Biopharma and Emmes Public Sector — to better serve its clients in both areas, she said. That came as she led Emmes to its acquisition of European firm Neox in December.

Emmes continues to consider new acquisition targets that further build up its work in the public sector, “diversify more aggressively” into the biopharmaceutical space, broaden its international work and deepen expertise in therapeutic areas including vaccines and infectious disease, ophthalmology, immunology, neuroscience and mental health, Dingivan told us previously.


About Emmes
Founded in 1977, Emmes is a global, full-service Clinical Research Organization dedicated to excellence in supporting the advancement of public health and biopharmaceutical innovation. The company’s clients include numerous agencies and institutes of the U.S. federal government and a wide range of biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies throughout the world. To learn more about how our research is making a positive impact on human health, go to the Emmes website at www.emmes.com.