NAME: Sean Stanton
COMPANY: Compass Research
YEARS IN CENTRAL FLORIDA: 19
TELL US ABOUT COMPASS AND HOW IT DEVELOPED.
Compass Research was founded in 2006 by my business partner Craig T. Curtis, MD and me. It is a multi-therapeutic, clinical research company headquartered in Orlando with additional research centers in Oviedo, Leesburg and The Villages (Lady Lake). Utilizing both outpatient and inpatient facilities, Compass conducts all phases of research (phases 0-4) and has grown in size and industry presence to become one of the premier research sites in the world, particularly in the fields of Alzheimer’s Disease and related neurodegenerative research.
WHAT DREW YOU TO YOUR PROFESSION, SPECIFICALLY CLINICAL TRIALS?
It is a specialty I have always been a part of. What keeps me excited about the business is that it is constantly evolving. I tend to describe it as a puzzle with no edges, constantly growing and changing. I can honestly say we never have the same day twice.
HOW HAVE CLINICAL TRIALS EVOLVED OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS AND WHERE DO YOU SEE THEM GOING?
In the last 10 years, clinical trials have become a lot more sophisticated. The treatments for tomorrow are very different than yesterday. There is a significant amount of diagnostic imaging and genetic markers that are shaping clinical trials. It makes it exciting for practitioners and patients.
AT COMPASS, YOU HAVE DIRECT ACCESS TO “SPECIAL POPULATIONS.” EXPLAIN WHAT THOSE ARE AND HOW THEY BENEFIT YOUR CUSTOMERS.
Special populations is an industry term to describe illnesses like Depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Asthma. By working hard to establish relationships with our community physicians and partners, we have fostered a collaboration that allows us to reach difficult special populations in great need of clinical trials. We’re paving the way for early detection, assessment and hopefully treatment of Alzheimer’s and other serious diseases, and we’re conducting this groundbreaking research right here in Central Florida.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS COMPASS’ NICHE?
Our niche is working with special populations such as Alzheimer’s or Lupus that have very limited treatment options. It gives us pride to be able to do our jobs day in and day out possibly changing the lives of people across the world through advancing medical research.
WHAT DECISIONS HAVE YOU MADE THAT POSITIONED YOU FOR YOUR CURRENT SUCCESS?
I’d say always knowing our limitations and surrounding ourselves with people that can do specific jobs better than we can. Specifically, I am speaking about Dr. Curtis and myself. A close second is we always try to put others first. This position has almost always been successful for us.
WHAT HAS PRIMARILY DRIVEN THE GROWTH OF COMPASS?
The people we have brought into the business have allowed us to grow. Most notably, Jeff Pohlig, MBA who is our COO. He has allowed our company to flourish in the four years he has been with us. He has the great ability to create structure around our vision of what Compass truly is.
HAVE CLINICAL TRIAL COMPANIES GROWN IN CENTRAL FLORIDA? HOW SO?
Yes, I would say there are 10 to 15 companies that conduct clinical research in the area. I think the business offers Central Florida a unique specialization to work with these types of trials.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE COME UP AGAINST?
The biggest challenge in our business is finding employees that are skilled in our work. It is a niche business and finding great people is difficult. Another challenge is building awareness throughout the community that we conduct clinical trials for, specific illnesses, and how clinical trials are important for advancing medicine.
WHERE DO YOU SEE COMPASS GOING IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
I see Compass focusing on systems that help us to become the most advanced and well-trained clinical trials center in the country. This will take discipline in limiting our growth, because we have so many opportunities. As a company, we will do it right the first time and not compromise our quality.
COMPASS RESEARCH OVERCOMES THE HURDLES OTHER RESEARCH SITES DON’T– WHAT ARE THOSE HURDLES?
We tend to thrive on setting goals beyond what most of our competition is willing to do. If you put your mind to it you can do anything. Clinical research is complex and the need to discover advances in medical research is difficult. We are a company that tries every time to figure out how it can be done, not shying away from the challenge, but embracing it.