People and Companies Up Close

Up Close | Sean Stanton of Compass Research

It’s fast becoming one of the nation’s premier research companies and has over 400 years of combined experience among its employees.

Compass Research CEO

It’s fast becoming one of the nation’s premier research companies and has over 400 years of combined experience among its employees. It is Compass Research and since 2006, it’s completed over 1,300 trials for a vast array of clients, including giants like Johnson & Johnson and GE. The company has expertise in special populations such as Alzheimer’s and special procedures such as glucose monitoring. Recently, the company was honored for its growth and creativity as a 2015 ACG SMART Award Winner. At the helm is Sean Stanton, who oversees all operations throughout the company and directs both current and future business and growth.



Compass Research was founded in 2006 by my business partner, Craig Curtis, MD and me. We are a multi-therapeutic, clinical research company, utilizing both outpatient and inpatient facilities. We conduct all phases of research (phases 0-4) and have grown in size and industry presence to become one of the premier research sites in the world, particularly in the fields of Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative research. It gives us pride to be able to do our jobs day in and day out, possibly changing the lives of people across the world through advancing medical research.

What I believe makes us successful is always knowing our limitations and surrounding ourselves with people that can do specific jobs better than we can. That’s why the people we have brought into the business have allowed us to grow. Most notably, Jeff Pohlig, MBA who is our COO, has caused our company to flourish in the four years he has been with us. He has the great skill of creating structure around our vision of what Compass truly is.

What keeps me excited about the business is that it is constantly progressing. I tend to describe it as a puzzle with no edges, constantly growing and changing. I can honestly say we never have the same day twice.



In the last 10 years, clinical trials have become a lot more sophisticated. The treatments for tomorrow are very different than yesterday. There is a significant amount of diagnostic imaging and genetic markers that are shaping clinical trials, and it makes it exciting for practitioners and patients.

At Compass, we specialize in special populations, an industry term to describe illnesses like Depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Asthma. We work hard to establish relationships with our community physicians and partners. This collaboration allows us to reach difficult special populations that are in great need of clinical trials. We’re paving the way for early detection, assessment and hopefully treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and other serious diseases, and we’re conducting this groundbreaking research right here in Central Florida.

This is a great time in our region, where the number of clinical trials have increased and are continuing to gain momentum. There are now about 10 to 15 companies that conduct clinical research in the area. I think the industry offers Central Florida a unique specialization.



In the next five years, I see Compass focusing on systems that help us to become the most advanced and well-trained clinical trials center in the country. This will take discipline in limiting our growth because there are so many opportunities, but as a company, we will do it right the first time and not compromise our quality. 

We tend to thrive on setting goals beyond what most of our competition is willing to do. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything. Clinical research is complex and the need to discover advances in medical research is difficult. We are a company that does not shy away from a new challenge but embraces it.

One of the biggest challenges in our business is finding employees that are skilled in our work. It is a niche business and finding great people is difficult. It is also challenging to build awareness throughout the community that we conduct clinical trials for specific illnesses and how clinical trials are important for advancing medicine.

This article appears in the June 2015 issue of i4 Business.
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About the author

i4 Business

i4 Business magazine has become one of the most trusted voices for and about the Central Florida business community. Each month through our print and digital platforms, we provide access to meet, to learn from and to learn about some of the incredible entrepreneurs and business leaders who are shaping our region.

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