PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- WIRB-Copernicus Group® (WCG™), the world's largest provider of regulatory and ethical review services and software to support clinical research, today announced the launch of WCG Foundation. It is the first 501(c)(3) public charity founded by an independent institutional review board (IRB) to strengthen protections for research participants and improve health and well-being worldwide.
"As the industry leader, it is our responsibility to introduce new and transformative ideas; ones that will result in an improvement in the quality of clinical research and the enhancement of human health," said WCG Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Donald A. Deieso, PhD. "We established WCG Foundation because we believe in the power of the independent public charity and in its extraordinary potential to make difference in the lives of desperately ill patients, research professionals, and research participants."
WCG Foundation will initially focus on three programs: advancing education and training in research ethics at U.S. academic institutions, providing scholarships for the Western Institutional Review Board® (WIRB) International Fellows Program, and making IRB review more affordable for patients who are desperate to gain access to experimental treatments.
"We see an enormous opportunity—and obligation—to build an educational infrastructure that can strengthen research protections, elevate the quality of research and, ultimately, increase its benefit to humankind," said Marjorie Speers, Ph.D., who was tapped to serve as WCG Foundation executive director. "We also empathize with patients seeking one last source of hope and, therefore, will work to reduce financial barriers and help make experimental treatments more accessible."
The former president and CEO of the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc., Dr. Speers served as acting executive director of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission and oversaw research protections for domestic and international research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To improve training in research ethics, IRB review and management, and IRB regulatory compliance, WCG Foundation will provide grants for academic institutions to develop courses, and certificate and degree programs that professionalize IRB training. The Foundation will also expand the existing WIRB International Fellows Program, providing scholarships to help enable global healthcare professionals to receive research ethics education in the U.S.
In addition, as an act of compassion, WCG Foundation will help desperately ill patients who have exhausted all other options and are seeking access to experimental drugs and medical devices. To help reduce these patients' financial burden, the Foundation will cover the cost of IRB review for applications for single-patient expanded use.
WCG is a family of companies that includes five IRBs – WIRB, Copernicus Group Independent Review Board®, Aspire Independent Review Board™, Midlands Independent Review Board®, and New England Independent Review Board®; IRBNet, which provides research compliance software for institutions; and ePharmaSolutions, a leading developer of technology-enabled solutions to optimize study startup.
For more than 40 years, WCG has demonstrated its commitment and leadership in the field of research ethics, driving the industry to adopt new and innovative processes to improve the protection of research subjects.
About WCG Foundation
WCG Foundation raises and distributes funds for three programs: advancing education and training in research ethics in U.S. academic institutions, providing scholarships for the global WIRB Fellows Program, and making IRB review more affordable for patients who are desperate for expanded access to experimental treatments (compassionate use).
To learn more about how you can support the Foundation, please visit www.wcgfoundation.org.
About WIRB-Copernicus Group
WIRB-Copernicus Group (WCG) is the world's largest provider of regulatory and ethical solutions for clinical research. The company provides Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) reviews, and Human Research Protections (HRP), Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and Biosafety consulting services. Its technology offerings include IRB workflow management solutions (IRBNet), clinical trial management software for sponsors and contract research organizations (ePharmaSolutions), and Part-11 compliant online learning solutions for research professionals (WCG Academy).
The pioneer of independent ethical oversight, WCG continues to drive progress in the clinical research space.
For more information, please visit www.wcgclinical.com or follow us on Twitter @WCGClinical.
SOURCE WIRB-Copernicus Group