Strategic alliances can benefit SMEs as well as Big Pharma, says CRO DZS

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Strategic alliances can benefit SMEs as well as Big Pharma, says DZS

Related tags: Contract research organization, Merck serono

Strategic partnerships are “flexible, cost-effective and will become the trend over the next few years,” says CRO DZS, which has signed a multi-year deal with SBI Pharmaceuticals.

Parexel described strategic partnerships as “the next phase”​in relations between contract research organisations (CROs) and sponsors last year, and a glut of deals between pharma and CROs help to demonstrate the trend.

However, whilst the focus has been on contracts between Big Pharma and Big CROs - such as Merck Serono and Quintiles​, GSK and PPD​, and Pfizer with Parexel and ICON​ - strategic partnerships can also benefit small and mid-sized companies, according to Greg Ambra, VP of Clinical Operations at DZS Clinical Services.

“DZS is still a relatively small CRO and there are many sponsors who may be in search for more traditional, well-known CROs,”​ he told “However, because of our size, flexibility, core expertise, and broad range of eClinical services, we feel there is an unmet need in the small to mid-size pharma and biotech category that we can serve.”

The New Jersey-based company has just signed a multi-year and multi-project contract with SBI Pharmaceuticals, granting the Japan-based pharma firm access to all its services and software at preferred pricing globally, but with particular focus in the MENA region.

“We see a shift towards more ‘creative’ partnerships driven by both biopharm sponsors and CROs,”​ Ambra said. “We feel partnerships which create stability, have a risk-sharing element to them, are flexible, cost-effective and will become the trend over the next few years.”

SBI opted to partner with DZS rather than sign the CRO up under a straight-forward provider contract was due to a number of factors, according to Ambra.

“We have facilitated enrollment with creative solutions, and implemented cost efficiencies which SBI has appreciated,”​ he said. Furthermore, the CRO’s management team and steering committee, set-up to oversee activities, identify risks, and resolve issues quickly, “led to strong feeling of ‘partnership’ which eventually led to [the] agreement.”

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