Business Q & A

Five questions with Kim Talbot

This year marks the 10th year of business for Kim Talbot's company, PRN of Kansas.

PRN —Professional Research Network — manages drug trials, or studies, for pharmaceutical companies and physicians.

Talbot, a nurse practitioner, was one of four founding owners of the firm that was started in 2000.

She is now its sole owner.

The firm, at 345 Riverview, employs eight people, including one registered nurse, two licensed practical nurses, two medical assistants and three office workers.

Talbot said PRN has done nearly 180 drug trials, for drugs such as Advair, Nexium and Plavix, and has worked with pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Abbott, Sanofi-Aventis and Lilly.

She said the thrill of her work comes when PRN participates in a trial in which the drug has a dramatic effect on a patient's quality of life.

"That's probably the most satisfying because of the positive impact," she said.

How is the new health care law affecting your business?

"I haven't felt that it is affecting what we do, yet. We still need to do research regardless of what happens on the reimbursement and insurance side of things. We still need to have good medications, good treatment options that are well researched. We have to have that."

What are some of the things you've learned from being a business owner?

"Trust your instincts or that sixth sense, that feeling you have sometimes about things. If you think it's going to be a bad deal, it probably is. And I've learned to surround myself with people who have good hearts and are on the same page. The synergy there is priceless."

What are PRN's opportunities and challenges in 2011?

"The pharmaceutical industry has outsourced some to other countries on the research side of things. And so our challenge at home is to show the pharmaceutical companies that we can deliver to them clean data, safe patients and that we can meet our enrollment goals, which means that they can get the drug to market quicker."

What are you doing to try to grow PRN's business?

"We have focused strongly on diabetes since our founding. More recently we've expanded to include asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis. And I have things in the pipeline I hope to come through in allergies and fibromyalgia and other conditions that need some better treatment options."

Where would you like to see the company a few years from now?

"I would like local physicians to feel more comfortable referring patients into studies because they know the type of work we do and using research as one of the options when they present a plan of care to a patient. It's really reaching out to the medical profession in the city more broadly. And for the general public I would like for them to understand there is very important research being done right here in their hometown by very, very qualified people."