The Life Science Strategy Group’s report, titled “Biopharmaceutical RFP Flow, Characteristics and Outlook,” found that while most sponsors are satisfied with existing vendors, some are considering making the switch to larger, more global CROs due to their expertise, global capabilities and because vendors are continuing to consolidate.
“For clinical services CROs, RFP flow trends indicate growth of the clinical services market and opportunity in all phases of clinical trial services,” the report says.
The report also noticed what others in the industry have been saying for a couple of months now: that preclinical services for CROs are seeing a substantial rebound, though there’s more progress to be made.
“For preclinical services CROs, these RFP flow trends reinforce continued signs of improvement in market conditions, however, RFP volumes are still below vs. pre 2008/09 levels. With Pharma’s recent focus on late-stage development, LSSG expects sponsors to shift focus back to their preclinical pipelines at some point, which will benefit the CRO sector,” the report says.
Nearly half of respondents, which were asked to provide non-proprietary information about historical and anticipated preclinical or clinical development outsourced study RFPs, indicate that they will shift the greatest portion of work to larger CROs.
And nearly one-quarter of biopharma sponsors said they expect to award more preclincial studies to large global CROs.
The report also breaks down some of the differences between the US and Europe, as well as specific areas where sponsors expect to outsource more work.
European sponsors, for instance, only anticipate increases in RFP volume for Phase III and IV clinical trials during the July-December 2014 period. A growing number of sponsors are also reporting that they’ll send more complex clinical trial RFPs in the near future when compared to the period of January-June 2014.
Small sponsors foresee increased RFP volume in all areas except for bioanalytical and non-GLP/discovery services through December 2014, while bioanalytical and drug metabolism will see the greatest increases in RFP volume for North American sponsors during the same period.
The top factors expected to either positively or negatively influence preclinical RFP volume over the July-December 2014 period include more molecules in the pipeline, a shift in focus to later-stage development activities, and more strategy to increase preclinical projects and outsourcing.
Other factors that seemed to weigh on sponsors minds when issuing RFPs include whether the partnership will be strategic, how competitive the pricing is, what a CRO’s global capabilities are and what kind of experience the CRO has in a specific therapeutic area.