Big not always best for biotechs using CROs

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Contract research organization

Biotechs use smaller CROs as much as larger service providers and regard patient recruitment speed as by far the most important characteristic, according to a report.

Industry Standard Research (ISR) published the paper, which seeks to asses how biotechs are using contract research organisations (CRO) and their satisfaction with the service provided.

This has become an increasingly important topic for the industry, with biotech rising in prominence and pressures on the sector meaning it has to maximise value from service providers.

Despite the financial difficulties facing many biotechs ISR notes that cost is not a major decision making attribute, with patient recruitment speed being regarded as far more important than other factors.

Kevin Olson, President of ISR, said: "Today biotechnology companies are playing an increasing role in both drug discovery and clinical development. To maximise the potential of their products, biotechnology companies need CROs and given the uncertainty in large pharma right now, the CROs need biotech customers. The challenge has always been how to work together​.

"CROs often do not distinguish between the needs of smaller biotech companies and those of their large pharma customers. And with less outsourcing experience, many biotech companies don't know how to evaluate CROs in a way that maximizes their chances of a successful partnership​."

Niches available

The report states that there limited differentiation among service providers but that opportunities exist for companies to specialise and create niches within the biotech sector.

By specialising smaller companies could avoid going head-to-head with the major players in the sector, which include the company described in the report as “the 800-pound gorilla in the market”,​ Quintiles.

The report says that respondents gave Quintiles high marks for many attributes, in particular for factors relating to running large, global studies.

An executive summary can be found here.

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