PCT 2017

From 79 to 1: Bayer says PRA partnership eases ‘administrative burden’

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

Transitioning to a single strategic contract research organization (CRO) reduced Bayer’s administrative burden, but the restructuring was met with some resistance, said the firm.

Bayer – which runs 50% of its clinical studies in-house – selected PRA Health Sciences to be its preferred partner for in-house clinical development worldwide in September 2014 to consolidate and simplify its resource spending in trials, said Bayer’s Keith Francis.

“We started with more than 40 countries and 79 suppliers,” ​Francis told delegates at the Partnerships in Clinical Trials (PCT) conference in Amsterdam last week.

“We ended up with a high administrative burden – with 79 suppliers, you can imagine the number of contracts that needed to be managed and reviewed, and invoices for payments,” ​said Francis, adding that those vendors are now completely out of the picture.

Although PRA Health Sciences is Bayer’s preferred partner for in-house operations, PRA’s director of clinical operations Chris Eastwood told delegates it supports Bayer with approximately 98 to 99% of its requirements.

Other vendors have been retained in a couple remote locations, so strictly speaking, it is not entirely an exclusive agreement, said Eastwood.

Resisting change

According to Francis, Bayer did experience some resistance from vendors when transitioning to a single, strategic partnership with PRA. 

“Certainly there was some resistance at first, for a variety of reasons,” ​he told delegates. “In many countries, they had established relationships with local providers, which was something they didn’t want us to dismantle.”

From a country perspective, these vendors may not have perceived the arrangement as administratively inefficient, but from a global perspective, we needed to show what more we could do by simplifying operations, he said.

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