Oh That Sinister Huntingdon Life Sciences and Its Super-Secret Front Groups

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty circulated an amusing release in early January supposedly exposing a secret effort by Huntingdon Life Sciences to hide a clinical research division.

The SHAC press release said, in part (emphasis added),

Now present before our eyes is what can only be seen as Huntingdon’s most desperate last bid for corporate survival. Hidden behind another name is the emerging clinical division to the lab. Life Sciences Research In, the name Huntingdon took when it was forced to relocated [sic] and re-incorporate in the US consists of TWO divisions, the infamous animal testing services we all sadly know too much about, and the newer and very quiet non-animal clinical testing services.

As the clinical laboratory arm to Huntingdon Life Sciences, Centralabs actively recruits much needed business to the lab in areas it could not previously compete for. With Centralabs HLS can now offer simple analytical work, specisimen management, investigator support services, and demographic clean-up. Huntingdon is banking on these abilities to corner the market on Phase I – IV research, consolidate pharmaceutical support, and essentially secure its uncertain future.

Centralabs is one and the same with Huntingdon. They share the same facilities, employees, phone lines, and payroll. They share the same vulnerabilities and ultimately the same destiny. Huntingdon’s survival largely depends on the success of the sales of their new clinical division.

This week we track down the secret asset to HLS’s survival and give them a proper SHAC-style welcome to the campaign. Trying to sell the dark services of HLS we must compassionately root out their marketing ploy.

First, if HLS has attempted to hide its relationship to Centralabs it has certainly done the worst job ever at secrecy. On Centralabs’ website, the company notes (emphasis added)

Who we are

CentraLabs Clinical Research is an emerging force supporting global drug development in the pharmaceutical industry. Part of the Life Sciences Research group of companies, CentraLabs has evolved from the clinical laboratory services arm of one of the world’s longest established CROs. This has allowed CentraLabs to utilise its extensive analytical experience to provide focused and dedicated support to all stages of clinical drug development.

That’s one secret front group.

Secondly, I laughed out loud at SHAC’s claim that with Centralabs HLS hopes “to corner the market on Phase I – IV research.” Only idiots who know nothing about medical research could make such a bizarre claim. The contract research organization is huge — on the order of as much as $10-$20 billion worldwide depending on whose figures you believe. The idea that a single company could corner the market on such research is ludicrous.

Its even more ludicrous to suggest that HLS could corner the market given that it is a relatively small company (one of the reasons SHAC has focused on it). HLS has a very good quarter when it books $40 million or more in new sales, as it did recently. Compare that to a CRO like Covance which has a good quarter when it books more than $300 million in new sales.

Presumably if SHAC opens up an office in a new state, we should assume that’s an effort to corner the market on animal rights idiocy.


Urgent Action Alert. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, January 9, 2005.

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