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'Easy to work with' tops CRO benchmarking report

Melissa Fassbender

By Melissa Fassbender


(Image: iStock/3D_generator)
(Image: iStock/3D_generator)

With or without a preferred provider – what do pharma sponsors look for in a contract research organization?

The report, published by Industry Standard Research (ISR), surveyed users on their experiences with 37 Phase II/III CROs.

One dynamic we found was ‘easy to work with’ has its highest importance ranking when a company does not have preferred providers,” Andrew Schafer, president at Industry Standard Research, told

When a sponsor selects a company as a preferred provider, there are many decision points that can be universally agreed upon and then do not have to be discussed or negotiated at the start of every project.”

Additionally, when working with a preferred provider on a repeat basis, which is often the case, the relationship forms certain efficiencies.

However, as Schafer explained, when there are no preferred providers in place, “details must be hammered out for each project and there may not be a pre-established working relationship.”

These factors may play large roles in why those with no preferred provider agreements place more importance on being ‘easy to work with,’” he said.

Other attributes examined included commercial market knowledge, regulatory knowledge, site and investigator networks, innovation, patient recruitment strategies, technology, contingency planning, and data quality.

Notably, “network of sites and investigators” was cited as important for those respondents who have formal preferred providers but were in a situation in which a vendor was being selected from outside this list.

This may mean when companies with preferred provider lists go away from them that they are looking for service providers who have access to therapeutic areas or geographies their preferred providers do not cover well,” said Schafer.

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