International Women’s Day And Our Alimentiv Leaders

International Women’s Day 2021 is on Monday, March 8th. Alimentiv is proud to celebrate this, honour the achievements of women across the globe, and continues to foster a culture where all employees and prospective candidates receive equal opportunities.

Lisa Harrison, Chief Operating and Privacy Officer for Alimentiv took some time to discuss her growth and development within the company, motivation, and inspiration for women as well as advice for women in leadership and future leaders. 

What was your start and journey within the company?

I started in 2013 as a consultant to support and advise on the transition from a university company to an independent entity. In January of 2014, I was appointed VP, Corporate Operations. Then in October of 2016, the Board of Directors added acting COO to my role. 

In June of 2017, I was appointed permanent Chief Operating Officer. In this role, I have oversight for various parts of the company including Finance, Legal, IT, HR, Quality, Enterprise Analyses, BD, and Logistics.       

How do you balance work and life responsibilities?

It has certainly become easier as I have grown older. However, at times the answer is “not always well.”

Over the years I have remained a dedicated volunteer for a number of organizations, so I learned early on that I had to plan really well, set limits on my time (e.g., my daughter was never allowed to do more than two activities at once), learn to rely on others for help and not care if everything was “perfect.” 

Also, for me, nature is my happy and calm place even a short walk can restore me.   

As a female leader, what has been the most motivational thing you’ve seen amongst other women?

To watch and be able to live and work alongside other women and especially around young women including my daughter  has really motivated me. 

Their collective resiliency, innovative thinking, ability to morph and recalibrate when life throws them a punch, and sense of purpose have always acted as my wings. 

Is there something you’ve witnessed or experienced that was encouraging or you found promoted strength in women?

Women were and are often compared to men in business and expected to behave “like a man” to succeed. My career developed in this environment and it was difficult. 

While this systemic thinking still exists, I am witnessing a shift. As more women take on senior leadership and Board roles in the public, private, elected and not-for-profit sectors, the awareness, understanding, and acceptance of female and diverse population’s needs have increased. 

Women have a stronger voice than ever. We’re championing and mentoring each other, and we’re less afraid to express vulnerability. Many are modelling success in their own image, not a man’s. 

I should also add that I’m witnessing a profound shift in men, too.

Men are confronting men more, speaking up against poor judgment and unacceptable behaviour, supporting women directly and behind the scenes, and realizing the benefits of a more enlightened view on life and work. 

Who inspired you and why?

My inspiration came first from my grandmother (a rock) and my mother. 

My mom was born with cerebral palsy and had virtually no use of one hand and some difficulty walking, yet she never quit, never gave up, and never made it an excuse. She worked, managed a household and supported us as a single parent, and overcame poverty and disability-based discrimination. She struggled but even more, she laughed, found joy in life, and taught us about gratitude.

What advice would you give to women wanting to be in leadership?

I’ve learned so many things along the way. Here are a few nuggets I picked up:

  • Life is really grey. Seeing black and white will not propel you.
  • To achieve lasting solutions, you must be thoughtful and listen to others’ views whether you like/agree with them or not.
  • So many injustices need addressing, but you can’t right all the world’s wrongs. Choose a couple, then fight hard.
  • Develop empathy and compassion for yourself and others. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. 
  • Respect the shoulders you stand on. Others came before you.
  • Be accountable, practice gratitude, and make sure you can look in that mirror every day.

Alimentiv Announces Acquisition of McDougall Scientific Ltd.

London, ON, CANADA, Release: March 2, 2021 – Alimentiv Health Trust, the parent company of Alimentiv, Inc. (formerly Robarts Clinical Trials), a specialized global gastrointestinal (GI) contract research organization (CRO), announced today the acquisition of McDougall Scientific Ltd. a niche CRO specializing in statistical analysis, top-tier data management, reporting, and clinical trial design

The acquisition of McDougall Scientific delivers on the purpose of the Alimentiv Health Trust to build enduring organizations that prioritize investment in Health Research. “McDougall Scientific has for 35 years prioritized excellence in science through delivery of high quality statistical and data management services. We are thrilled to invite the McDougall organization into the Alimentiv family of companies and are eager to leverage our complementary capabilities to provide an enhanced level of services to our sponsors,” said Jeff Smith, CEO, Alimentiv. 

John Amrhein, Vice President of McDougall Scientific who will assume additional responsibilities as Managing Director following the acquisition said, “The expertise of Alimentiv and McDougall Scientific are well aligned to enhance both the scope and depth of service offerings to the clients of both companies.  Our shared values, emphasis on quality, and complementary corporate culture inspired this acquisition that will facilitate synergistic growth and expansion of services.”

Janet McDougall, Founder, McDougall Scientific, will retire following more than 35 years of operating McDougall Scientific. Janet will stay on as a consultant through the transition and offers the following: “McDougall Scientific has earned a reputation as an experienced CRO with a commitment to continually raising the standards of our industry. Valuable insights, timely, accurate data, and analytics leading to expedited time-to-market and lower development costs are the foundation of the work we do.”

Alimentiv and McDougall Scientific have core expertise in clinical trial design and statistical analysis. The combined strength of the organizations will provide benefits that include:

  • Study design and statistical consulting services 
  • Data standards (CDISC), data conversion (SDTM/ADaM), and data visualization services
  • Observational, registry, real-world evidence study designs, and analyses
  • Technology solutions for small biotech and virtual organizations including EDC, IRT, and ComplyDocs (McDougall’s proprietary eTMF system)

Both companies are proud of their Canadian roots and support the continued growth of jobs in Canada and globally. Combined the companies have offices in London, ON; Toronto, ON; San Diego, USA; and Amsterdam, the Netherlands serving customers worldwide.

Looking forward we expect to see strong continued growth in the global biostatistics market and are excited about the benefits this acquisition brings and the opportunity we have to continue to prioritize our vision of building a leading clinical drug development CRO that through investment in academic research and delivery of clinical services accelerates drug discovery for our sponsors,” said Smith.



Fern Livingstone, Manager, Marketing & Communications

Tel: (519) 639 3205


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About Alimentiv Health Trust

Companies under the Alimentiv Health Trust are commercial ventures driven by the Evergreen principles of purpose, people first, and long-term profitable growth.  Operating within the Trust allows the businesses the privilege to grow with a 100-year perspective, where the measure of success is not the value created by an exit, but rather the value created by fulfilling our purpose.

Alimentiv (CRO) is a global research organization providing clinical trials, central image management, and precision medicine services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Headquartered in London Ontario, Alimentiv employs approximately 400 people across its operations in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.  Its unique model combines the efforts of leading, internationally recognized academic researchers with operational experts to offer integrated solutions to its customers. Founded in 1986 at the Robarts Research Institute, the clinical trials division was initially led by Dr. Henry Barnett.  In 1997, Dr. Brian Feagan, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology & Biostatistics at Western University assumed leadership and built upon the foundation of academic excellence by focusing the organization on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research.  Over the past 20 years, Alimentiv has become recognized as an expert in clinical trial design, central image management solutions, outcome measure development, and precision medicine for drug development in IBD.  Today, Alimentiv provides services in over 50 countries worldwide, collaborates with leading academic research institutions across the globe, and partners with many of the leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations to bring new and improved treatment options to patients.  

About McDougall Scientific

McDougall Scientific is a Clinical Research Organization (CRO) with renowned expertise in Clinical Trial Design, Statistical Analysis, and Data Management supporting clinical research. We provide trusted services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology & medical device companies in a variety of therapeutic areas across all phases of clinical trials. Our unique expertise along with the flexibility and affordability of our services has helped make McDougall Scientific an integral and sought-after CRO for more than 35 years. We invite you to discover how we exceed the expectations of our clients: 

PRO Development

A patient reported outcome measure, or PRO, may be defined as “any report of the status of a patient’s health condition that comes directly from the patient, without interpretation of the patient’s response by a clinician or anyone else.” These measures are widely used to study chronic diseases and are considered by regulatory agencies such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), to be the gold standard for quantifying patient experience. For the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), this view is reflected in regulatory guidance for the design of future registration trials that requires a primary endpoint consisting of both a PRO measure and an endoscopic outcome.

Although treatment options for IBD have expanded and improved over the past two decades, many patients nevertheless do not respond, or eventually lose response, to currently available therapies. A significant unmet need for novel therapies for IBD therefore remains, and multiple compounds are in early clinical development. Until recently, however, the lack of a valid and reliable PRO has been viewed as an important barrier to the drug development process for IBD given regulatory guidance on requirements for registration trial endpoints. Furthermore, the process for development and validation of a PRO instrument is both rigorous and resource-intensive and frequently requires many years to complete.

At Alimentiv, we strive to break down the barriers that impede our mission to transform human health. We invested significant research efforts to develop and validate the Symptoms and Impacts Questionnaire for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (SIQ-CD and SIQ-UC, respectively) with the ultimate goal of ensuring that future therapies target not only the underlying disease process but also provide meaningful improvements to patient well-being and function. Unlike prior PRO instruments, the SIQ-CD and SIQ-UC were developed using centrally-read endoscopy to qualify patients based upon a range of disease activity. The draft questionnaires are now available for use in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis clinical trials, and the manuscript describing our study can be accessed here.