Last week the US recruitment specialist announced that its database - of patients with self-reported ailments who have granted the firm exclusive permission to contact them about trials - has swelled to more than 70 million registrants.
Spokesman Scott Conner told Outsourcing-pharma.com that: “Last year we reached over 18 million via the database,” explaining that Acurian’s approach is to send branded letters and emails directly to the potential subjects’ households.
“Those who are interested respond and pre-screen via a call center or self-service website to determine a certain level of eligibility and are subsequently referred to a proximate research programme, if appropriate.”
Acurian’s approach differs from that of CROs whose databases are made up of individuals contacted through online communities, the largest of which has less than 4 million members.
“This process in and of itself is not necessarily unique to Acurian,” Conner said, adding that “it is the sheer numbers we can drive into the enrolment continuum that differentiates is from providers using smaller online communities"
How many of the 70m patients Acurian now has on its books will ever take part in a trial is hard to say, although Conner believes that asking patients to opt-in removes some of the hurdles usually associated with enrolment.
“The science of each protocol governs what percentage of those people will qualify which is always going to be an overall low percentage, and that underscores the importance of having a large universe to contact. Interest in clinical trials is not generally an issue.
“The bigger issues are awareness of trial opportunities and protocol design.”