The Life Sciences Strategy Group has launched a new website for biopharma outsourcing professionals, which includes a star-based user ratings program for CROs that’s similar to Yelp’s ratings system of restaurants.
The anonymous ratings system currently includes a number of reviews by employees of biopharmaceutical sponsors for many of the largest CROs, including Covance, Quintiles, Charles River, inVentiv, Wuxi, Parexel and PPD. New reviews of existing and new CROs are being added the site on a continual basis.
The performance rating is based on a 14 factors, including a CRO’s proposal quality, ease of contracting process, comprehensive solution, experience with a study type, therapeutic area expertise, project management, responsiveness, and seven other criteria that all receive a zero to five star rating.
The criteria could be helpful for a sponsor evaluating a potential outsourcing partner. CROs are not allowed to join as members of the website, and all comments, which may be the most useful for prospective sponsors, are reviewed for relative objectivity and appropriateness by Life Science Strategy Group, Jon Meyer, founder and principal of LSSG, told us.
For example, Quintiles, the world’s largest CRO, currently has nine user reviews, with an average of three-out-of-five stars for their performance. A couple of reviews for Quintiles noted how proactive the CRO was in dealing with issues and negotiating budgets and contracts.
“The detail and nuggets of wisdom contributed by our members will be of the most value” for advisory board members, Meyer told us, noting that membership is open and free to biopharma outsourcing decision makers.
Covance, which has an average 3.5 star rating over 19 reviews, seemed to receive mostly positive comments. One commenter, who provided an overall rating of four stars noted, “Covance was quite experienced in running these types of tumor efficacy and tox studies in mice and rats respectively. They did a nice job setting up the experiments and consulting us for the final approved plan. The protocols they used were quite similar to our protocols so we had confidence [the] results would be similar to our in house studies.”
Similarly, Charles River, which received 3 stars across 12 reviews, seemed to garner positive support for the most part. However, one commenter took issue with the company, noting: “The CRO did not think outside of the box, [but] they performed the study exactly as they were told to do. Which was okay with us as our company has strong PK/PD group and they designed the study well.”