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CRO builds $5m facility to recruit and house US trial patients

By Fiona BARRY , 06-May-2014
Last updated the 06-May-2014 at 15:47 GMT

Vince & Associates, a contract research organisation (CRO) conducting early stage and complex clinical trials, is building a $5m expansion designed to recruit and retain volunteers.

Brad Vince, CEO, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com the company had planned its facilities “for optimum recruitment and retention of special populations in Early Development Studies” with the help of an in-house advertising and marketing team.

The company specialises in complex in Phase I and II clinical studies, such as those involving patient populations that require additional medical oversight. The extension will expand capacity for overnight patients from 100 beds to 140, in accommodation the company called “luxuriously designed.” The CRO’s average length of stay is two to three weeks, Vince told us, but one current study is planned for 57 nights.

Demand from sponsors for trials conducted in the US had driven the expansion, he said.

‘Push/pull’ recruitment

As well as beds, the three-story building will house a recruitment centre, a surgical suite, and a pharmacy.

The on-site recruitment centre will be “staffed with eight full-time recruiters for live calls up to 8pm,” said the CEO. The CRO’s staff are trained to compile screening histories for effective recruitment.

A recent whitepaper from Industry Standard Research claimed patient recruitment is “the major bottleneck” slowing clinical research. It suggested the future would see fewer patients “pulled” into studies by their doctor who happens to be involved in research, and more people “pushed” into participation by proactive CROs. While the uptake of outsourced recruitment services is low, it is picking up, and some big CROs like Quintiles have formed in-house recruitment units to speed lead times.

Surgery and Pharmacy

The medical/surgical suite under construction will give greater capacity for trials, allowing specialised procedures such as endoscopies, biopsies and EEGs, said the company. A new pharmacy will be used for preparing drugs for trials and will include a USP 797-certified clean room, with an ISO Class V environment.

The company told us it planned to hire an extra 20 employees to staff the expanded facility, bringing the workforce to 170 when construction is completed early next year.

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