Avoca prepares for survey, summit on CRO, sponsor partnerships

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

Avoca prepares for survey, summit on CRO, sponsor partnerships
Avoca prepares for survey, summit on CRO, sponsor partnerships
A consortium of sponsors and CROs are beginning to participate in a survey that will not only assess their perceptions of quality but how those perceptions have stacked up over the years.

This year’s Avoca Quality Consortium - slated for early May in Princeton, NJ – will bring together representatives from nearly 30 CROs and sponsors to discuss the results of the survey and analyses by the Avoca Group.

Steve Whittaker, executive director of the Avoca Quality Consortium, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com the focus of this year’s summit is patients and “progress through collaboration – effective clinical R&D partnerships to deliver to patients​.

What we’ve done in years past is that we looked at quality factors and relationship management, and out of those historical surveys was the genesis of the consortium​,” he added. “We’ve looked at gaps and perceptions on quality, so we have several questions [this year] to ask on perception and actual measures of quality – from a longitudinal perspective as the industry is doing more pre-competitive engagement​.”

Often CROs “felt that they were conducting quality studies but there was a gap​” between their perception and the sponsor’s perception, Whittaker noted. “Is the trend moving upward and converging? That’s what we would hope to see but we won’t know until we get the results​.”

Beginning on Monday, Avoca will begin to gather survey data from about six companies, while another nearly 25 companies will soon provide contact information and complete the survey, he said.

After completing the survey, member companies will receive blinded analyses of competitors, as well as individual reports to see how they match up to blinded competition.

An interim analysis of the results “will be ready at the consortium, but final analyses might come after that​” in reports where top performing companies are compared with lower performing companies, Whittaker said.

The Avoca Group’s core 2014 initiatives include a new quality benchmark study “to evaluate and develop a pre-qualification process for niche suppliers,” which Avoca has agreed to expand its membership to, as well as “delivering best practice quality oversight guidelines and tools, and collaborations with industry group Transcelerate​.”

And finally we’re working on proactive risk identification tools, as well as some QBD [Quality by Design] tools​,” he said, noting the consortium will add three or four new companies to its group of members. The keynote speaker for this year’s consortium is Jamie Heywood, founder of the website patientslikeme.com.

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