The Complete Guide to Finding the Right CRO for Your Clinical Trial

Contract research organizations (CROs) are companies contracted to provide day-to-day clinical research support to biopharma, biotech, and medical device companies. Considering the rising global costs of research and development (R&D) for new therapeutic interventions, the market value of CRO services is projected to exceed USD $100 billion by 2032. With study outsourcing becoming more popular, wading through a sea of emerging options to find the right CRO is no small task.

Why Partner with a CRO?

Let’s review why CRO partnerships are becoming the way of the future for clinical research. These organizations are ultimately built to free up three valuable resources for trial sponsors: their time, money, and R&D efforts. Because CROs are hired to provide existing expert study teams and specialized trial infrastructure, research companies can instead invest their spare resources into driving future projects.

No matter if you’re in the business of developing pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, biotechnology, or medical devices, the following guide will highlight 7 key criteria to evaluate when choosing the best CRO for your clinical trial!

1 | Expertise & Experience

One of the most significant points to consider is to examine which CROs have enough medical expertise in your study’s clinical indication and whether they have a strong track record of success backing their experience. Especially in complex fields like oncology, specialized CROs are likely to offer more tailored expertise than larger organizations with a broad disease focus. Visit our article here to find out the top five niche CROs built specifically for oncology sponsors.

2 | Operational Systems

This criterion is not particularly noticeable until a project begins to fall behind in its projected timeline. Sponsors should take extra care to determine whether a CRO is equipped with the appropriate facilities, staff, and systems needed to efficiently manage your study. For example, do they have software to track progress, maintain essential documents, and allow sponsor oversight? If so, are these secure and compliant with data regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)?

3 | Pricing Structure

Many larger CROs, like IQVIA, PPD, and ICON, often still use traditional cost models prone to change orders. However, Vial CRO recognizes how these approaches can drive up expenditures and cause delays for sponsors in the long term. Instead, we offer fixed-fee pricing to facilitate more transparency with our trial services. Read more here to learn what advantages biopharma companies gain from fixed-fee contracts.

4 | Products & Services

One of the main reasons sponsors will outsource to a CRO is to improve their clinical trial’s efficiency. However, this potential will depend on whether a CRO is able to leverage digital innovation to replace slow paper-based data management methods. For example, modern companies like IQVIA and Vial have developed advanced data capture tools, like ePRO, eSource, and EDC, which are integrated into one user-friendly suite and built with real-time cross-talk between platforms. Read about five essential technologies to look for when choosing CROs in our article here.

5 | Sites & Patients

Another benefit of forming a partnership with a CRO when running your clinical trial is having access to any new site or patient networks they may maintain internally. IQVIA CORE technology, ICON’s Accellacare, and Vial’s Preferred Site Network all serve similar purposes by connecting top-performing sites with clinical trial sponsors and patients across multiple indications. Tools such as this can give a new study a significant boost in enrollment support to bypass common patient recruitment challenges.

6 | CRO Size

Whereas a larger CRO’s study team may have a longer history of leading successful projects, they may not have enough bandwidth to provide the same level of attention as that of a smaller CRO. However, smaller companies may not have enough established locations to be able to support a clinical trial spanning multiple continents. Company culture can also shift with the size and age of a CRO and is worth considering if sponsors are aiming to build a long-lasting business relationship.

7 | Proactive Partnership

Clinical trial projects are particularly complex to manage, but the right CRO will proactively handle unexpected issues with quick responses, transparent communication, and with a sense of accountability. Your clinical trial is in the best hands when the outsourced team is as motivated as your own to excel. When CROs are willing to shoulder the inevitable risks of a clinical trial with sponsors, the relationship becomes a true partnership that will thrive quickly.

The Vial CRO

Vial is a next-generation, technology-first CRO delivering faster, more efficient trials at dramatically lower costs for biotech sponsors. Our mission is to empower scientists to discover groundbreaking scientific therapeutics that help people live happier, healthier lives. Visit our website today to learn more!

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