CVS is shutting down its Clinical Trial Service (CTS) business venture, a CVS spokesperson confirmed to Clinical Trials Arena.
In an email response, the spokesperson confirmed that CVS is evaluating its asset portfolio to ensure long-term strategic priorities. As such, CTS will wind down in a phased way, with a full exit expected by 31 December 2024.
“We’ll work with our trial sponsors to ensure a smooth transition, as well as continuity of care and minimal disruption for patients. In parallel, we’re working to support impacted colleagues, and will provide career transition support for those unable to find another role within CVS Health,” the spokesperson said.
The chatter about the possible CTS closure started circulating over the weekend after a LinkedIn post revealed a probable information leak from an internal company call last week. Since then, various publications independently confirmed with CVS that the CTS business is closing, but the giant pharmacy retailer is yet to make an announcement, as of 16 May.
The author of the LinkedIn post that speculated CTS closure Steve Wimmer, vice present of partnerships at 1nHealth, guessed several reasons why this is happening. He wrote that the business unit has grown 10 times over the two years it operated but the shutdown is likely to be a result of sales to revenue conversion issues and cost of revenue.
Fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic
CVS launched its CTS business in 2021 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. While traditional sites struggled to enable clinical research, CVS was seen as another option to accelerate Covid-19 studies.
“Because of our pharmacy footprint, many pharma sponsors and the government looked at CVS to enable the delivery of clinical trials, particularly for vaccines and Covid-19 testing,” Josh Rose, vice president and head of clinical trial delivery, site solutions and strategy at CVS, told Clinical Trials Arena in February.
The same month, CVS agreed to start enrolling patients into ProKidney’s Phase III trial investigating cell therapy in chronic kidney disease. Under the agreement, CVS was responsible for recruitment at 39 sites.
In February 2022, CVS entered a collaboration with Medable to extend clinical trial access and engagement for patients. Earlier this year, CVS acquired a technology and services company Signify Health to enable clinicians to conduct assessments at the patient’s home.
CVS is not the only retail giant that has dabbled in the clinical trial industry. Walgreens, Walmart, and new joiner Kroger are all aiming to increase access to clinical trials using their massive footprint in the US.