From established corporate giants to innovative start-ups, our ‘Spotlight On’ series interviews senior executives across various life science industries, revealing the driving forces behind their company’s success. We delve into the visions and goals of senior executives from various companies, offering an exclusive opportunity to gain insight into the minds of industry leaders, as well as their organisations’ missions, objectives, and strategic goals. 

LabConnect is a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing organisation, improving lives by partnering with pharmaceutical and biotech companies and clinical research organizations (CROs) to accelerate the development of new medicines around the world. LabConnect’s team of scientific experts serves as an extension of their client’s clinical teams, coordinating all laboratory-related needs and providing end-to-end analytical and logistical solutions.

In this interview, I spoke with Ilka Reineman, Executive Director of Business Development EMEA at LabConnect, to discuss her role within LabConnect and upcoming plans for the company.



Thanks for taking the time for this interview today, Ilka. To start, would you like to introduce yourself?

Thank you. My name is Ilka Reineman and I am currently working in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry and have been for almost 10 years. Because of my financial background, I had the opportunity to be a part of different industries in the early days of my career, knowing different business models, processes, and best practices which are still very useful in my daily work.

Currently, I work in a commercial role and have been for 6 years, with no regrets moving from finance to business development. Being responsible for activities that drive financial result give me energy and meaning.

In terms of LabConnect, the company is a trusted partner, and we have been helping our clients to successfully achieve their clinical research trial milestones for more than 20 years.

LabConnect brings a unique combination of offerings; our comprehensive Central Lab Services, which serve clinical trials with routine or complex needs, as well as our Functional Service Provider (FSP) Solutions which support our clients by serving as an extension of their clinical team, quickly coordinating all laboratory-related needs, advising on strategies for lab data collection and providing end-to-end analytical and logistical solutions.


What was it that attracted you to the laboratory services industry with a generic drug background?

I wanted to stay active in the pharmaceutical industry but also wanted to learn something new. Stepping into the world of central lab services to support clinical trials provides me with this challenge. As well as this, building a business development team for EMEA from scratch and the overall growing environment of LabConnect was the perfect fit for me.


What has been the biggest challenge for you in making this change?

I am still learning about central laboratory services, the wide variety of testing, and having a deeper understanding of study protocols for the different indications. This is an enormous wide field of expertise.
In addition, in generic pharma, you can build a business development strategy around existing market data, whereas in innovative pharma and biotech, you need a different approach when finding your customers.


How do you believe LabConnect differs from other laboratory service companies?

Getting a drug to market used to be relatively simple. That’s just not the case anymore. Whether we’re talking about a treatment for a chronic ambulatory condition, precision medicine, or cell and gene therapy, we’ve seen a massive uptick in complexity. I don’t want to say that LabConnect can do it all, but looking through the lens of our offerings, we can do almost anything. We have the experience, the expertise, and the global infrastructure and partnerships to ensure we can help our clients achieve their objectives faster.


How has the company’s expansion into EMEA progressed?

We are excited about our strategic alliance with Labor Dr. Wisplinghoff, located in Cologne Germany, that we announced a few months ago. Established for over 45 years, Wisplinghoff is one of the largest independent private medical laboratories in Europe providing our clients access to the highest quality of scientific support and innovative lab testing in Europe.

Complementary to this strategic alliance, LabConnect announced the opening of a new LabConnect facility for clinical kit building and biorepository storage in the Netherlands. This is our brick-and-mortar. These major milestones complete the build-up of the infrastructure for LabConnect to support European studies out of Europe.

As the company is growing, building out the EMEA team with the right skills to support this growth has been a focus. It’s worth mentioning, that as we are expanding and building out our global team, our global Talent Acquisition team leads these staffing efforts. At times they may partner with select external firms for specialized roles, like with Invenia Group for the Business Development team in Europe.


Can you tell me about your team and what you provide to your customers?

We have a business development present in the key life science areas in Europe. The team is a good mix in terms of level of experience – they all have their talents and capabilities that are complementary, creating a strong team with the ability to offer the right solutions for our clients.

For every challenge our clients may face, LabConnect has a solution to help make it easier for them to achieve their clinical trial objectives faster:

  • Lab Kit Production – custom kits for sample collection to save time and reduce errors.
  • Sample Management – logistics, real-time tracking, and biorepository storage. Reduced time from collection to analysis.
  • Lab Samples – largest testing menu of both routine and specialized.
  • Data Management – Unified dataset standardized, normalized, and harmonized.


How has this year been for you so far and what does the rest of 2023 look like?

For me specifically, I am happy that the business development team for EMEA is now established and fully onboarded. The focus in the second half of the year will be on the marketplace, creating brand awareness, and explaining the offering of LabConnect to European-based companies, kicking off the business.

From a global perspective, it has been a year of building and growing. In addition to our alliance with Labor Dr. Wisplinghoff, we announced a strategic alliance with the Cleveland Clinic based in Ohio, USA. Through this alliance, LabConnect will utilize Cleveland Clinic Laboratories, the reference laboratory within Cleveland Clinic. LabConnect will leverage the health system’s extensive array of testing and assay validation services to support laboratory testing for an increasing number of clinical trials. This collaboration on lab services will further accelerate clinical trials and connect patients to new medicines for improved patient care.


What do you see the key challenges being for the company moving forward?

Although LabConnect has been around for over 20 years, we are a well-kept secret, and not many people in Europe know about us. A key challenge for us is to grow awareness of our brand in the region, and open doors of opportunity for us to work with new clients on their clinical trials. Wherever the trial may be in the world, we can support them.


What are your and LabConnect’s long-term business goals?

With BD people on the ground entering Europe we will expand our focus to the full EMEA region going forward. Considering the number of pharma and biotech companies in EMEA there is still a lot of ground to cover and opportunities to tap into by continuing to deliver an end-to-end quality experience to make it easier for our pharmaceutical, biotech, and contract research organization (CRO) clients to achieve their clinical trial objectives faster.

The BD team has the great opportunity to connect new clients to the experience and expertise that we can offer. Via our model, we offer clients access to the top clinicians and scientists in the world to help them develop their lab scientific strategy and optimize their study protocols.

Simply stated, our business goals are powered by our mission to create healthier communities by accelerating the development of new medicines for patients around the world.



Watch the full interview here:



To find out more about about LabConnect, take a look at their website.