Being flexible is vital to success in clinical trials.
Greg Orzeck is the co-founder and Director of Business Development at AI Research Inc. AI Research is a specialty clinical research organization, providing world-class clinical research support services through highly experienced staff. The staff at AI Research is comprised of all registered nurses. They implement qualified solutions, methodologies, and provide clinical monitors who are experienced in multiple therapeutic areas. With over 20 years of service, they provide expert clinical monitoring and oversight across North America and Canada, specializing in pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device studies.
AI Research has supported support clinical trial operations for a variety of products and indications including, but not limited to, oncology, diffuse B cell lymphoma, bladder cancer phase one and two, infectious disease in bone marrow transplant phase two and three, postoperative pain management phase three, neurology, ALS phase two, emergency room based clinical trials, point of care rapid pathogen detection assay trials, endocrine clinical trials type two, and DM in adults phase three.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Working in the industry for many years, the opportunity for starting AI Research came about. As a startup, we identified a need to help emerging biopharma companies manage the functional areas where they lacked expertise or capacity, and clinical trial monitoring was a key component of this effort.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As a small business, we work in many different capacities throughout the day. Every day is productive, and remaining flexible and efficient is paramount to our success. Listening to our customers and following through on critical path timelines is vital. This efficiency allows us to maintain a very high level of expertise and projects without the need to carry a heavy management team.
How do you bring ideas to life?
By listening to our clients’ needs and concerns. Our clients and our customer service are first and foremost. We get a lot of special requests and critical path timelines and it’s our job to make sure that we service the client and fulfill all the needs that they’re asking us to meet.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think we’re going to see large biopharma companies continue to find themselves under increased pressure to produce growth. Basically, with more drugs coming off patent and a shrinking pipeline for many companies, the search for new targets through acquisitions or partnerships will continue to increase. As we are already seeing, these trends will push smaller biotechs and academic research centers to increase productivity and execution, which should result in high growth and an increase in outsourcing. Small focused CRO’s like ours are ideally engineered to cater to that segment.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Listening to our clients’ needs, having great customer service, and being flexible. I can’t say it enough; this goes a long way and pays great dividends for both the client and ourselves.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell a younger Greg Orzeck to be a better listener and to be more flexible. These key components are what I didn’t have as a young man. As I’ve gotten older and more experienced with our company, instead of speaking more, I listen more.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
As it relates to my daily routine, I like to start working early in the morning. So everyone told me that the pharmaceutical industry starts work around 9 a.m., but having clients worldwide, there’s always someone to talk to or work with who is up at the time that I’m up. I come into the office early, usually by 6:30 a.m., and I find it enjoyable. We have clients in the U.K. who are six to eight hours ahead of us and there is always something to do and someone to have a conversation with. And there’s a lot of quiet time that early, too. I can get a lot of work done in that time before the office gets busy.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
With AI research, it’s primarily the flexibility with which we manage our partners’ projects coupled to a competitive cost structure. Our philosophy is to develop long-term efficient yet cost-effective partnerships with our clients.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One short-sighted mistake common to startup companies is to simply plug and play resources, thinking all great talent can do any job. Long term success requires that an appropriate investment is made in the people to ensure that the right people are in the right role at the right time. So as the company grows, different strategic and technical skills are needed to meet the demands of the organizations and those invested in that growth.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I would say not a failure, but challenges that arise outside your comfort zone. So for me, it was IT challenges. IT challenges are tough for me and I realized long ago to hire competent professionals to build that ended the business.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’d like to develop an app that can shave 9 strokes off my golf game. Wouldn’t that be nice?
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I’ve spent recently in regards to my work was on upgrading my iPhone. The one that I was using wasn’t adequate enough for what I needed and Apple has come a long way with their phones in a short period of time. My new version makes things a lot easier.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We use Smartsheet, an online work execution platform. It empowers clinical research organizations like our business to track, manage, and report on clinical tests and trials.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Fundamentals of Clinical Trials by Lawrence M. Friedman. It’s a good introduction to clinical trials. It explores key topics and issues like studying design, blindness, randomization, monitoring, assessment, reporting what results, and interpretation of others.
What is your favorite quote?
“Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein
● Being flexible is vital to success in clinical trials.
● Clients and customer service are a top priority.
● Listen more, talk less.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.