Is There a Place for “Mom & Pop” Toxicology Laboratories?


I always thought that a Mom-and-Pop designation best fit a small bakery or perhaps a hardware store.

Sort of like “Cheers,” it’s “the place you want to go where everybody knows your name.”

Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate its use to describe a Toxicology laboratory, much-less Lovelace Biomedical. I remember when I first started working here 20 years ago, it seemed so big to me. There were a couple hundred employees, numerous divisions, over 300,000 square feet of laboratory and animal housing. For a kid, this seemed huge. Fast forward to the present, and man, has the world gotten smaller. Many of the laboratories I would see at conferences no longer exist, and the number is getting smaller. While I can appreciate the benefit of the ‘do-it-all’ laboratories, I don’t envy the management challenge. However, I do envy their buying power, that’s for sure. The big labs have broadened their capabilities through acquisition, and boy it’s impressive. They have acquired a lot of good people, and great capacity. I also remember a few years back when I took on the role I am currently in, I thought I too would be a ‘one stop shop’. I thought, “let’s do everything”. I learned quickly that this was a mistake. We decided after some struggles to turnaround and focus on being good at specific things, rather than trying to be everything. After all, we can call many laboratories that can help us fill gaps when they may exist. So it begs the question; how does a Mom-and Pop laboratory survive in the wake of consolidation? I think the answer can be found at Cheers. We are the lab you can go where you will know the name of the people you are working with, and they will know yours. We are definitely not large, and we view that as an opportunity to do well at specific areas, and when we have gaps to fill, we find friends that can fill those gaps. We want to be great at execution of Toxicology programs to support IND’s and NDA’s. We want to have good scientists that work well together, and are legitimately an extension of the sponsors team. We want to build on our strengths in Inhalation, Gene Therapy and Infectious Disease. However, we are agnostic to the disease indication as we want to support successful transition to the clinic. Overall, we focus on developing the people we have, and growing organically. We are looking forward to continuing on our current growth path, and in serving as your best ‘Norm’ when you need it.

-Dr. Jacob McDonald, CSO