Parexel expands its clinical trial site network to speed drug development

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

The company expects strong growth over the next year for its network of sites
The company expects strong growth over the next year for its network of sites

Related tags Clinical trial Clinicaltrials.gov Pharmacology Parexel

CRO Parexel on Wednesday announced the expansion of its clinical trial site alliance network, which includes investigator sites and Site Management Organizations (SMOs) that help the company quickly access and enroll patient populations for clients’ clinical trials worldwide.   

Recruiting patients for clinical trials is a significant challenge as 81% of trials see a delay of between one to six months because of enrollment issues.

Parexel’s Site Alliance network currently consists of more than 180 members plus several SMOs and offers access to approximately 6,000 investigators worldwide. The SMOs alone have a combined database of 7.5 million patients in more than 25 countries.

Paul Evans, VP and Global Head, Feasibility and Enrollment Solutions at Parexel explained to Outsourcing-Pharma.com that the network is in all the major regions where Parexel runs trials and was only “kicked off in earnest about 18 months ago​.”

Evans said the company is expecting to see continued growth of the network for the next 12 months, and that it “will probably double in size​.”

We anticipate a significant amount of patients will come from this network by the time we’ve developed it. It gives us the ability for improved performance from sites​,” Evans said, noting that it’s ultimately about selecting particular sites and developing good relationships with them and working to improve what they do.

He also specified that Parexel works with owned site SMOs, which means they own the sites they work with and control what goes on.  “The reason we chose that type of model is that it’s the most efficient type of SMO model​.”

The network’s size and scope enable faster patient recruitment, evaluation and enrollment in clinical trials. Parexel gave the example of recently using one of its Site Alliance network partners to recruit more than 8,250 people across 40 sites for a Phase III trial.  The team was able to randomize the first patient within five weeks – several months ahead of schedule – helping create a cost saving of close to 40 percent.

Evans added that Parexel has been “very selective​” around which SMOs they’ve chosen to work with as they’re “not a panacea and not all good performers​.”

The move to expand its network comes as Parexel has seen significant growth in new business “from across the board – strategic accounts, key accounts and biotech as well​,” Evans said.

Recruiting and enrolling patients is a fundamental and critical need in clinical trials. Recruitment difficulties can translate into lost revenue and significant delays in getting new, cutting edge medicines to patients​,” said Mark Goldberg, M.D., President and COO, added. 

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