Dennis Gillings, chairman of Quintiles Transnational, has been elected chairman of a new clinical research organization.

Quintiles is one of five companies that announced the formation of the Association of Clinical Research Organizations today in Washington, DC.

Gillings will serve as chairman this year and be followed in 2003 by Fred Eshelman, chief executive officer of PPD, Inc. in Wilmington.

Other companies joining the group are Covance Inc., Kendle International Inc. and PAREXEL International Corp.

According to Gillings, the group will work on the behalf of CROs in “expediting the introduction of important new medicines that improve health and save lives.” The group also will act as a lobby in matters related to health care and drug regulations, legislation and initiatives.

The five companies represent 36,000 employees, operate in more than 60 countries, and represent more than $6 billion in revenues.