Instem Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
24 March 2020
We would like to provide an update on Instem’s response to the escalating coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and, particularly to:
- Emphasize that the safety of our staff, their families, the communities in which we operate, and our customers are our first priority
- Reassure you of our ability to continue to provide the services and support that are vital to many businesses engaged in the essential area of life sciences development and regulatory approval
- Inform you that we may have the potential to provide additional help should your own staff or partners be temporarily unavailable
- Acknowledge that we may need to work closely with clients as they reorganize or reschedule activities to help address the crisis, or to simply deal with its business consequences.
With staff and customers in China, and directly in Wuhan, Instem’s Business Continuity team was quickly engaged. Our first priority was to address personal safety and then to ensure business continuity for both Instem and our clients. Our Business Continuity team has continued to spearhead our response as the crisis has escalated and spread worldwide.
Like most businesses, we have been closely following and implementing the advice of agencies, such as the World Health Organization and US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and quickly introduced international, and then domestic, travel bans, as well as policies to increase hygiene and social distancing. We required staff with even mild illnesses to stay at, or work from home, and so far, have no known, or suspected staff coronavirus infections.
While these measures have had some impact on client-related site work, we have worked collaboratively with our customers to find ways to complete much of this work remotely. In some cases, this is increasing efficiency as we save on the time and expense of international travel. We hope to see some enduring benefits as we, and our clients, realize quite how much can be done in this way.
Instem is fortunate to have invested heavily over the last 5 years in technology that supports our widely dispersed workforce and the many staff that already work entirely, or frequently, from home. Our GxP regulatory framework, certification to quality standard ISO 9001 and information security management standard ISO 27001, all require us to have a risk management and business continuity mindset embedded in the organization. We also reflect these requirements with the operational partners on whom we rely, and they have confirmed their ability to continue to support Instem and our clients during this crisis.
While our COVID-19 response is primarily operational, we, and our clients, can take some comfort from Instem’s current financial position, our high levels of recurring revenue and the visibility and financial regulation afforded by our public company status.
We have quickly, but carefully, moved to a position where over 95% of our staff are now working from home, keeping ahead of those locations where governmental mandatory “work from home” and/or “shelter at home” is now in place. Should we need to attend our offices in exceptional circumstances, we believe we will likely retain that right as a business that is supporting critical, life enhancing/sustaining scientific research and development. For example, while not needing to visit one of our offices, our global SEND outsourced services team worked over the last weekend to generate a SEND submission for a potential COVID-19 related therapy.
While most of our staff are working equally efficiently remotely, we are addressing situations where staff need to balance looking after home bound children/dependents and those areas where external network connectivity is being challenged by entire regions that are restricted to home working and schooling.
While some clients are utilizing Instem’s service capacity at pre-coronavirus levels, we are seeing some project delays, which open the potential opportunity to provide additional, highly skilled Instem capacity should you need it. We are also prepared to reprioritize longer-term investment initiatives to free up resources, in the event that our clients need to direct additional coronavirus or other critical R&D activities to the expert Instem team.
You will no doubt be aware of our significant capabilities in the area of in-silico R&D, both organically and through the November 2019 acquisition of Leadscope Inc. We recognize that in-silico R&D may offer benefits in speed and practicality during these exceptional times. Please do not hesitate to talk to Instem if you think we may be able to help.
We remain committed to the safety and success of our community of clients and will continue to update this page with any material developments.