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.
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.