Vial CRO vs. Top 5 Large CROs

Two clinical trial site staff talking while pointing at a tablet.
Two clinical trial site staff talking while pointing at a tablet.

The need for a clinical trial infrastructure that delivers fast execution is driven by the global biotech industry. To bring new therapies to market, biopharma companies engage contract research organizations (CROs)for their expertise in navigating the complex landscape of drug development and regulatory pathways. The COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted new study launches (an estimated 43% reduction in Q1 2020) and, at the same time, revealed that there is flexibility in the clinical trial system.

Sponsors and the U.S. FDA introduced guidelines that enabled clinical trials to continue during the pandemic e.g. electronic consent, tech-enabled participant engagement, and longer periods between in-person assessments. Scientists weighed the benefit of these flexibilities against the potential impact on the quality of research.

The Vial CRO recognized the need to evolve and has built on over 150 cumulative years of experience in managing best-in-class research sites to reimagine next-generation, tech-enabled clinical trials that, most importantly, maintain the quality of research. We’ve put our services to the test against five of the largest CROs in the industry. See how we compare!

Vial CRO vs. PPD

PPD was established as a one-person consulting firm in 1985 and has since conducted clinical trials in more than 100 countries. Today, PPD is a leading global CRO providing comprehensive, integrated drug development, laboratory, and lifecycle management services. However, bigger, doesn’t always mean better. Large CROs like PPD often have pitfalls that inflate budgets and leave sponsors feeling stressed.

Common pitfalls of working with large CROs like PPD:

  • Losing control of the clinical trial project timeline
  • Slow site activation
  • General vs. therapeutic expertise in CRAs and project team
  • Competition for CRO’s resources and time
  • Lack of transparency

Vial stands by our fixed-fee pricing model to ensure budgets don’t become inflated. We take on part of the risk-share so that sponsors know we are a true trusted partner, working together to accomplish the same goals.

What sets Vial apart from PPD

  • Site activation: Vial has a streamlined 30-day site activation capability supported by a modern recruitment engine, evidenced by having 90% of trials starting in under 30 days. PPD does not explicitly state a 30-day site activation offering.
  • Fixed fee pricing structure: Most but not all PPD’s service contracts are based on fixed prices and are subject to change orders. At Vial, a fixed-fee pricing model applies to all contracts and helps sponsors stay on budget by avoiding costly unanticipated change orders.
  • One connected technology platform: PPD has some proprietary software but has multiple partners, and their systems are spread out. Vial developed its technology platform for powerful data capture and review in one connected system. The Vial Technology Platform can run global trials across multiple therapeutic areas efficiently at scale. Our highly-customizable source creation with multi-language support, coupled with lightning-fast build times, delivers best-in-class clinical trial results for sponsors.
  • Patient recruitment playbook: Like Vial, PPD has a patient recruitment engine, but Vial recruits faster than many large CROs like PPD because of our extensive Preferred Site Network and multi-channel marketing tactics. We have a patient recruitment playbook that delivers.

Vial CRO vs. IQVIA

Founded in 1982, IQVIA is a leading global provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions, and clinical research services to the combined industries of health information technologies and clinical research. Though IQVIA is a global provider, many sponsors report that when working with large CROs, the CRO doesn’t always carefully consider the risks and realities of the trial’s scope during initial conversations. This inevitably leads to delays – and as timelines stretch, costs inflate.

Common pitfalls of working with large CROs like IQVIA:

  • Underestimating trial risks
  • Inflated budgets due to delays and variable pricing models
  • Not receiving the experienced team as promised
  • Competition for CRO’s time and resources
  • Lack of transparency

Vial utilizes our 150+ years of cumulative experience and our expert scientific advisory board members to deeply understand clinical trial needs. We assess risks through well-known common issues and utilize data from former studies to constantly optimize and improve trial processes. Our technology platform reduces protocol deviations, assures data quality through an intelligent, real-time data capture system, and drives efficiencies that leave timelines unscathed.

What sets Vial apart from IQVIA:

  • Reduced protocol deviations: IQVIA has multiple tech partners, causing their systems to be spread out and leaving room for deviations. Vial has developed a technology platform for powerful Electronic Data Capture (EDC) and review in one connected system. Vial’s eSource is intuitive, easy to use, and reduces protocol deviations for sites through real-time, instinctive data capture, conditional logic, and built-in validation.
  • Streamlined site startup: Vial is able to streamline site activation in 30 days or less due to our electronic onboarding application and modern recruitment engine. 90% of our trials have started in under 30 days. Historically, start-up has been a major pain point for IQVIA and challenging for their start-up team.
  • No change orders: IQVIA service contracts are subject to change orders. At Vial, we take on the risk-share by offering a fixed-fee pricing model for all contracts. Our goal is to help sponsors stay on budget and avoid costly unanticipated change orders.
  • Fast patient recruitment: ****Vial is able to recruit quicker than many large CROs like IQVIA because of our modern patient recruitment playbook. We utilize multi-channel marketing tactics and our Vial electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO), a consumer-grade, mobile patient experience that is compliant and customizable for patients, to ensure patient satisfaction and retention.

Vial CRO vs. ICON

ICON was founded in Dublin, Ireland, in 1990 and is a global provider of drug and device development and commercialization services with a presence in Europe, the U.S., South America, the Middle East, and Africa. ICON services span the lifecycle of product development and commercialization, serving small local trials as well as large global programs. Though large CROs like ICON promise small biotech companies the same services as their larger counterparts, more often than not, smaller clinical trials end up struggling due to competition for the CRO’s time and resources. Some CROs don’t allocate the same quality of resources and will send less experienced CRAs who lack knowledge in the specific therapeutic area depth that is needed.

Common pitfalls of working with large CROs like ICON:

  • Delayed trial timelines and inflated budgets
  • Inadequate resources for smaller trials
  • General vs. therapeutic expertise in CRAs and project team
  • Competition for CRO’s time and resources
  • Lack of visibility

Vial works to ensure small and startup biotechs receive the same time and resources. We work with our Preferred Site Network and expert ClinOps teams to understand the depth of scope of each trial and cater to its unique needs. We service clinical trials across multiple therapeutic industries and indications. We’re able to compete against the largest CROs in the industry due to our experience driving efficiencies through technology.

What sets Vial apart from ICON:

  • 30- Day site activation: Vial has a streamlined 30-day site activation capability supported by our patient recruitment engine and technology platform. 90% of Vial trials have sites up and running in under 30 days. ICON, however, does not explicitly state a 30-day site activation offering.
  • Reduced trial costs: ICON service contracts include “time and materials” contracts subject to change orders. At Vial, we are able to reduce costs by up to 50% off through our fixed-fee pricing model and efficient processes and workflows.
  • Efficiencies powered by technology: ICON has multiple tech partners, and their systems are spread out, causing inefficient processes and workflows. Vial developed its technology platform for powerful data capture and review in one connected system. The Vial Technology Platform drives efficiencies through our Vial eSource, Vial Electronic Data Capture (EDC), and Vial electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO).
  • Patient retention: Like Vial, ICON has a patient recruitment engine. However, Vial is not only able to recruit faster than many large CROs, but we are able to retain more patients. We utilize our extensive Preferred Site Network, multi-channel marketing tactics, and integrated technology to find diverse patients who have expressed interest in participating. We then ensure Vial trials are designed to be patient-centric to ensure the ultimate patient experience.

Vial CRO vs. PAREXEL

Parexel is a global CRO providing clinical development capabilities and integrated consulting expertise, with global study locations in the US, UK, and Germany. To expand access to patient populations and increase diversity in clinical trials, Parexel launched its Community Alliance Network in 2022. In collaboration with CVS Health and Javara, the novel program integrates clinical research into the community healthcare setting. However, a common perception of working with Larger CROs like PAREXEL is that the CRO does not place enough time into the clinical trial during early stages, leading to delayed trial start up and site activation. Furthermore, large CROs often struggle to adequately communicate until issues arise, ultimately leading to delays, additional costs and distrust.

Common pitfalls of working with large CROs like PAREXEL:

  • Delayed trial start-up and site activation
  • Poor communication and a lack of transparency
  • Inflated budgets due to delays and change orders
  • Deficient trial design and project management
  • Distrust between CRO and sponsor

Vial confidently streamlines site activation within 30 days or less. Between our experienced ClinOps team, Vial Technology platform, and modern patient enrollment playbook, we are able to get trials up and running quickly. Vial is a trusted partner for biotechs. We boldly stand by our promise to deliver for our sponsors.

What sets Vial apart from PAREXEL:

  • Quick & easy site activation: Vial has a streamlined 30-day site activation capability supported by a modern recruitment engine, evidenced by having 90% of trials starting in under 30 days. PAREXEL, however, does not explicitly state a 30-day site activation offering.
  • Modern enrollment playbook: Vial recruits faster than many large CROs like PAREXEL because of our extensive Preferred Site Network and multi-channel marketing tactics. We have a patient recruitment playbook that delivers and retains.
  • Non-variable pricing model: PAREXEL does not strictly offer fixed-fee pricing, whereas Vial does. At Vial, our pricing isn’t based on a traditional variable pricing model. We offer fixed-fee pricing that applies to all contracts and helps sponsors avoid unanticipated costs.
  • One connected technology platform: PAREXEL technology systems don’t appear to be a part of one connected system, rather, they appear to be spread across multiple systems that are integrated with their various partner technology. Vial knows that too many systems lead to mishaps and poor communication. We have developed our trial technology platform to connect in one intuitive system while still being able to integrate with sponsor’s preferred systems.

Vial CRO vs. SYNEOS

Formed through a merger of INC Research and inVentiv Health, Syneos Health is a global biopharmaceutical solutions organization that includes a CRO and a Contract Commercial Organization (CCO). Its business model was designed to accelerate customer success by strategically blending clinical development, medical affairs, and commercial capabilities. However, a challenge with many large CROs like Syneos is the presence of antiquated technology and processes, such as paper source, that lead to protocol variation and a lack of visibility for the sponsor.

Common pitfalls of working with large CROs like SYNEOS:

  • Antiquated technology and processes
  • Inflated budgets due to delays and change orders
  • Delayed site activation
  • Competition for CRO’s resources
  • Lack of visibility into clinical trial management

At Vial, paper-based reporting is out. Vial eSource replaces paper, driving clinical trials into modern practices — radically streamlining trial workflows. Intuitive, direct data input unlocks real-time data entry, heightened data compliance, and centralized remote monitoring. Vial has built a connected technology platform that benefits all parties involved. Whether it’s EDC, eSource, or ePRO, we ensure the sponsor not only benefits but has visibility into the trial every step of the way.

What sets Vial apart from SYNEOS:

  • Next-generation technology: SYNEOS has systems that have outdated interfaces and still utilize antiquated trial processes. At Vial, paper source is a thing of the past. Vial’s next-generation technology platform drives efficiencies, reduces protocol deviations, and streamlines workflows. Vial eSource is a powerful digital system that allows for automated Electronic Data Capture (EDC) integration into our electronic source. We stay up-to-date on the latest industry technology and constantly optimize to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Accelerated site activation: Vial has perfected the process of site activation. 90% of Vial sites can be activated within a 30-day period. Our accelerated site activation capability is supported by powerful technology and a strategic recruitment playbook. SYNEOS claims improved cycle times but does not reference a 30-day site activation offering (or any timeline) specifically.
  • Fixed fee pricing structure: SYNEOS does not offer fixed-fee pricing, whereas Vial does. At Vial, a fixed-fee pricing model applies to all contracts and helps sponsors stay on budget by avoiding costly unanticipated change orders.
  • Preferred Site Network: SYNEOS has a site network of a select group of high-performing sites. Vial offers an extensive Preferred Site Network of top investigators, which drives patient recruitment. It also helps sponsors choose the right site quickly and subsequently get started within 30 days (90% of Vial trials start in under 30 days).

Reimagining Clinical Trials

Vial is a next-generation CRO powered by technology on a mission to disrupt the clinical trials industry with better, faster, and cheaper tech-enabled CRO services. Vial’s mission is to raise the clinical research industry to the next level – to be less reliant on pathways and processes which are now defunct – and to mirror the speed and progress that our biopharma partners demand of their own innovations in healthcare.

Vial is reimagining the very nature of clinical trials to successfully deliver a higher-quality CRO experience. Vial distinguishes itself by leveraging its tech-enabled trial management system, streamlined study start-up processes, seamlessly connected technology platform, and an unparalleled approach to patient recruitment.

Dive deeper into what sets the Vial CRO apart from the rest. Visit us at https://vial.com/about-us/

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