CRO IT imperative: Data management key to differentiation says expert

By Gareth Macdonald contact

- Last updated on GMT

CRO IT imperative: Data management key to differentiation says expert

Related tags: Contract research organization

CROs are investing in IT to mark themselves out in an increasingly competitive marketplace according to one services sector expert.

Outsourcing-pharma.com gets told about the growing importance of data management by a CRO most weeks with the most recent example being Parexel.

On Thursday last week the US contractor cited the increasing volume of information generated by studies as a driver for the launch of its new CTMS​.

Similarly, Quintiles said its decision to collaborate with Apple in November​ was prompted by the increasing volume and complexity of trial data. The deal is focused on using the CROs data help Apple develop its ResearchKit platform for clinical trial software developers.

Ocean of data

Increasing trial data volume was also a topic of debate at PCT Europe in Hamburg last month.  

During a panel discussion Christian Tucat, Senior Vice President Business Development at INC Research, said CROs “are awash with data” ​adding that “there are more and more data points, biometrics and capturing tools, but the biggest challenge we have is how to read and interpret it all.”

This was echoed by Bart Valdez who predicted that CROs willhave to work with “the Googles and Apples of this world” ​to cope.

“These companies will enter this sector to help implement the many moving pieces of clinical trials,”​ he told the room. “We may be scared of big, powerful tech firms but we have to embrace them and treat them as part of our own industry.”

Competitive imperative

But beyond this, investing or partnering to add IT capabilities and telling the market about it is a sensible move for a CRO from a competitive standpoint according to William Blair analyst John Kreger.

He told us that: “Our sense is that CROs are viewing IT capabilities as increasingly important competitive differentiators, more so than in the past.

So even if one news release…seems pretty minor, it probably needs to be taken in the broader context​.”

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