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Room to grow
February 2018
by Ilene Schneider  |  Email the author


CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—Rho, a full-service contract research organization (CRO), recently announced plans to build a new 159,000-square-foot headquarters building in the Research Triangle Park (RTP) area of North Carolina. The company, which focuses on bringing new products to market through a full range of product development services, is a privately held CRO that provides clinical research services across the entire drug development process.
The new building will be 50 percent larger than Rho’s current location, allowing plenty of space for continued expansion. Rho’s goal is to include green/wellness features for all employees, such as increased natural light and views, maximized indoor air quality, walking trails and energy efficiency and building lifecycle impact reduction, according to the company. Additionally, two entrances will help reduce parking lot congestion as people come and go.
“At Rho, our employees are our greatest asset and we want them to enjoy the time they spend in the office,” said Dr. Laura Helms Reece, CEO of Rho. “Investing in a new, custom-built, environmentally responsible headquarters allows us to invest in our values. Employee feedback has driven the design process and we are all excited about a new office that is designed around our values and how we work.”
Rho plans to begin moving operations early in 2019. The company, which is planning to add more than 40 employees over the next few months, has worked with leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies, as well as academic and government organizations, for more than 33 years. “Our commitment to excellence, our innovative technologies and our therapeutic expertise accelerate time to market, maximize returns on investment and lead to an exceptional customer experience,” Reece said.
Rho began in 1984 as the vision of two people: a nationally recognized biostatistician and the head of clinical data management for a respected child development research institute. From the basement of their home, the husband and wife team of Ron and Mary Helms created a highly specialized organization designed to enhance the quality and speed of pharmaceutical and biotech clinical research. Academic careers involving cutting-edge clinical research in a variety of therapeutic areas gave the couple a deep understanding of the importance of quality in all aspects of clinical research. “Our commitment is to deliver the highest-quality work product and meet aggressive deadlines without sacrificing integrity or rigor,” the Helmses have said.
In a recent interview, Russ Helms—who is currently co-CEO with Laura Helms—stated that the company’s growth is motivated by continuing to win more repeat business and also new clients. In an industry widely known for turnover, Rho has long kept a focus on retention of its employees, according to Helms. He said that some of Rho’s increased workforce is in areas like technology and accounting to support the company’s core business growth and that the privately held company has been growing in the low, single-digit percentages for many years.
He expects that new positions will range from entry level to experienced and go all the way up to the executive level, including research associates, administrative assistants, clinical research associates, project managers and research scientists.
The company is working with landlord The Keith Corporation on the build-to-suit space, explained Dave Shortino, vice president of corporate services at Rho. “We’re planning for growth,” he said, acknowledging that some of the extra square footage is based on the type of space employees need and want as well. For instance, for privacy and deep work, the new space will have about one office for every cubicle.
Code: E021825



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