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GSK selects Parexel and PPD as strategic CROs

By Gareth MacDonald+

21-Sep-2010
Last updated on 20-Jan-2011 at 13:39 GMT

Parexel and PPD forge new strategic links with GSK as UK firm becomes latest Big Pharma to refocus CRO relationships.

The agreements, financial terms of which were not disclosed, will see the two CROs provide a range of clinical development and trial services, details of which are currently being discussed.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) spokeswoman Claire Brough told Outsourcing-Pharma the deals “[are] part of a broader initiative in R&D at GSK to simplify clinical development and significantly increase our productivity.”

Brough explained that: “We work with Clinical Research Organisations (CROs) as a regular part of our business. The change here is that we are reducing the number of CROs that we work with.

The move fits with plans outlined by CEO Andrew Witty who announced that GSK would reduce the number of CROs it worked with to increase efficiency and productivity.

Neither CRO was able to provide Outsourcing-pharma with specifics as details are still being worked out, although in press statements both said the GSK deals were strategic and long-term arrangements.

Big Pharma deals

In wider pharmaceutical market terms, GSK’s selection of Parexel and PPD as partners is in keeping with the current trend for Big Pharma to form closer links with one or two top tier CROs.

In June , Bristol-Myers Squibb said it had partnered with Icon and Parexel, explaining that it opting for two partners rather than one was “the best way to channel volume of work while ensuring some level of risk mitigation”.

And, just this week Eli Lilly said it had teamed up with Parexel on clinical trials, which is the second strategic CRO partnership it has formed this year after its March deal with Covance

A recent report by Cutting Edge Information (CEI) suggested that for pharma firms forming such relationships maximises the benefits of working with CROs by enabling greater communication and interaction.

But, while this trend is clearly a boon for CROs selected as strategic partners, for those that are not it could make what is an already difficult market an even more sector in which to operate and win business.

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