CROs and Outsourcing: How to Make the Most of Your Partnership

As the landscape of medicine evolves with technology and regulatory requirements, research institutions are facing greater challenges in keeping up their R&D efforts to meet the demand for innovative therapeutic products. These challenges have been a core driver of the booming market for outsourcing to contract research organizations (CROs) like Vial, PPD, IQVIA, and Medpace[1]. In North America alone, the regional market value is estimated to exceed US$34.2 billion by 2028, suggesting that outsourcing clinical trials to CROs is becoming the way of the future. Given this considerable expected growth, more biotech and pharma sponsors are looking to establish mutually beneficial long-term collaborations with CROs. Read on to discover five ways you can make the most out of your CRO partnership and take advantage of the CRO’s valuable expertise.

1. Assess Complementary Strengths

A common pitfall when forging a new CRO partnership is to base it on the CRO’s weaknesses as opposed to its strengths. The kind of collaboration that invites the most success is when sponsors choose a CRO that will help them become even better in the areas they excel. Take time early on to assess what your CRO can bring to the table and use these complementary strengths to lay a reliable foundation for your future study collaboration. For example, if your trials have struggled with site recruitment in the past, resources like the Vial Preferred Site Network can get you ahead by connecting you with established quality investigators who have long-standing study experience.

2. Ensure Mutual Accountability

Many partnerships can suffer as a result of an imbalance between the two parties. Ensuring mutual accountability before the trial begins can go a long way to foster a true sense of commitment from the CRO. Some strategies to help evenly distribute responsibilities within this type of partnership include holding discussions about how each team will be held accountable, outlining a continuous action plan beforehand to ensure everyone is on track, and even choosing a payment model that inherently enables balanced risk-sharing between both organizations. Visit our article here to find out why a CRO’s pricing model is important, why fixed-fee pricing is edging out variable pricing models, and how it benefits sponsors more.

3. Set Clear Expectations

Sometimes a CRO can appear so well-matched that it may be tempting to jump into a new project right at the start of the partnership. However, starting by setting clear, measured expectations of how the relationship will be set up is essential for helping both sides collaborate harmoniously when disagreements or obstacles inevitably appear. For example, determine what level of oversight will be provided by the outsourcing company, outline which tasks and goals are being assigned to the hired CRO, and directly define what a successful outcome will look like for both parties at the end. Having these contingencies and guidelines in place fosters a greater sense of trust, commitment, and accountability between the sponsor and its CRO.

4. Communicate Proactively

The capacity for proactive communication between trial sponsors and the CROs they choose to outsource to is a key factor that will determine whether their business relationship is going to thrive. A true partnership will consist of each side taking responsibility for their tasks and immediately informing the other of any problems which may occur. Clinical trials are difficult to take on, and it’s a given that things will go wrong; however, when conflict is handled with honesty and transparency, the partnership will only come out stronger.

5. Focus on Shared Goals

Sponsors ultimately choose to outsource their clinical trial to a CRO because they want successful results faster and cheaper. When outsourcing research companies choose to partner with a CRO, the outcome will not be as favorable if both companies aren’t equally invested in the project’s success. The most effective way to stay on track and get past any unexpected challenges together is for both the sponsor and the CRO to have shared goals. This can be easier to achieve when there is a thorough vetting process before an agreement takes place because the partnership is more likely to be based on high compatibility in the missions, values, and experiences of each party.

Modern Innovation in Today’s CRO Landscape

Although biotech and pharma companies may have many options to wade through in today’s CRO landscape, the key to making the most out of a clinical study partnership is ensuring a good fit from the start. Vial is a full-service, global CRO paving the way for modernized clinical research across multiple therapeutic areas through digital innovation. Trusted by leading sponsors, Vial CRO’s specialized teams deliver shorter study timelines, quality affordable services, and a clinical trial experience that puts you first. Connect with a team member today!

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