Tufts: CROs investing more in tech, beating sponsors on site-related timelines

By Melissa Fassbender contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/YiuCheung)
(Image: Getty/YiuCheung)

Related tags: Investment

Technology investments are catalyzing the study start-up process – and with more investment coming in from CROs, sponsors complete all site-related activity 6 to 11 weeks slower, according to a recent Tufts report.

The study start-up process averages 5 to 6 months in duration, though 11% of sites are never activated, according to a report by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (CSDD)​, which surveyed pharmaceutical organizations, biotech companies, and contract research organizations (CROs) to assess start-up practices and performance.

The research was supported by a grant from goBalto, a San Francisco, CA-based developer of web-based clinical research solutions.

As stakeholders are increasingly aware that better study start-up processes are linked to shorter clinical timelines, the emphasis has been shifting in that direction​,” said Sujay Jadhav, goBalto CEO. “The increasing use of technology and impact on cycle time reductions is a very positive industry trend​.”

According to the report, 80% of respondents who invested in technology reported time savings – with CROs investing 10% more than sponsors. As such, the research found that CROs complete all site-related activities 6 to 11 weeks faster than sponsors.

However, 80% of respondents still indicated a need to improve tools and technology to enable more effective processes, with 30-40% of respondents reporting they are unsatisfied with their processes. Those who did report a high level of satisfaction with their processes have 57.5% shorter cycle times, according to the report.

Additionally, across sponsors and CROs, average cycle times are 9.9 weeks shorter (28%) at repeat sites than at new sites.

It’s difficult to understand why there is so much variation and why there are so many inefficiencies and delays in study start-up, this was the impetus behind this research​,” said Craig Morgan, head of marketing at goBalto.

Numerous factors can adversely impact study startup and its efficiency, in an industry plagued by rising development costs and increasing complexities​,” he told us.

Some of these challenges include complex protocols, protocol amendments​, competition for sites, contract negotiations, regulatory changes and investigator​ and CRA turnover​, among others.

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