DURHAM — Velocity Clinical Research is playing a big part in the global race to find a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Durham-based clinical trial company has received multi-site awards for five of the phase III COVID-19 vaccine studies announced to date. It will conduct 14 studies in total across eight sites in Ohio, California, Texas, Rhode Island, Utah, Idaho and Oregon.

Velocity said over 10,000 volunteers are already being recruited from a diverse set of communities and dosing began on July 27, officially launching the critical phase III stage of COVID-19 vaccine studies.

It expects to dose thousands of volunteers by the end of the year.

“Although we can’t be specific about our clients, we can confirm that we are contracting with companies that are part of the White House Warp Speed project,” Dr. Paul Evans, CEO and president of Velocity Clinical, told WRAL TechWire this week.

Founded by Bruce Tomason, the former CEO of One Call Medical, Alterna, and Copernicus, Velocity Clinical has been on a shopping spree since its launch in 2017 and raised more than $20 million in equity. Among its sites: a clinical research facility in Grant’s Pass, Oregon; Clinical Research Institute of Southern Oregon (CRISOR) of Medford, Oregon; New Horizons Clinical Research (NHCR) of Cincinnati, Ohio; and MD Clinical of Hallandale Beach, Florida.

“The search for a coronavirus vaccine is unprecedented, not only in terms of how quickly the industry must pull together to bring one to market but also in the sheer number of volunteers required,” added Evans. “One problem that the industry hasn’t fully addressed yet is site capacity. Current forecasts suggest the U.S. will require roughly 250,000 volunteers in the next six months to test all of the vaccines ready for phase II and III trials, but the industry does not have the requisite site infrastructure to support this level of testing.”

He said Velocity is the only company to be involved in all active Stage 3 coronavirus studies currently announced in the United States.

In order to handle the unprecedented volume of study visits and condensed timelines required for the coronavirus vaccine trials, Velocity said it has implemented a series of initiatives around site management and logistics. The company said it is adding clinical and support staff at each COVID trial site, implementing new technology solutions to ensure rapid and consistent document and data collection, procuring new site hardware and equipment, and increasing stocks of PPE and disposable medical supplies.

“We will be adding jobs throughout our sites in the US. Although we will not be adding specific jobs in Durham for this study, our corporate office here is now up to 12 staff in less than two years of operation,” Evans said.

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