Pivotal, a Madrid-based contract research organization (CRO), has purchased Akcelis, a patient-management company centered in Belgium. The acquired firm will be rebranded as “Akcelis – A Pivotal Company.”
Obstacles and opportunities
Lidia Farr, vice president of corporate development and finance at Pivotal, told Outsourcing-Pharma that recruiting patients and volunteers for trial participation is an all-too-common obstacle.
“Studies have shown that 80% of the trials fail to meet planned recruitment milestones. Patient enrollment is the leading cause of missed clinical trial deadlines of which patient recruitment is the biggest contributor to such delays,” she said.
Farr added, “The success and timelines for attracting and enrolling patients in clinical trials have a direct impact on the time it takes to get a drug or medical device to the market. Delays result in higher operating costs, impatient investors, losses in sales, and other important penalties and drawbacks.”
Additionally, Farr told us, recruitment of specialized patient population presents unique challenges, especially in Europe, where trial staff face stringent regulatory challenges and cultural differences. Still, she added, opportunities abound.
“There is a strong growth market for patient recruitment in Europe: the market of clinical trials grew over 35% over the last five years,” she said. “In addition, there is an increasing trend of insourcing patient recruitment capabilities by CROs in order to strengthen their service portfolio by patient centric services in this highly competitive industry.”
“The market is progressively in demand for specialized patient recruitment services as part of full-service projects (‘one-stop-shop’) conducted by CROs rather than as a stand-alone service,” she said.
Farr said Akcelis appealed to her firm because of a demonstrated record in recruiting patients and healthy for volunteers in Europe.
“Akcelis offers services using a unique full-service online patient recruitment platform with a team of multilingual pharma industry experts and digital community experts,” she said. “Fully GDPR compliant and high-quality standards have allowed Akcelis to deliver successfully several international patient recruitment projects for top 5 pharma companies, biotech companies, and medical device companies.”
Barbara D’haene and Nathalie Niclaus, Akcelis’s managing directors and founders, said the acquisition will enable Pivotal to provide current and future clients with increased service offerings, as well as a range of patient recruitment experts.
“Pivotal’s expertise in clinical research and Akcelis’ patient-centric approach to accelerate patient recruitment are the winning combination for scientifically elegant and patient-friendly clinical trials,” they said.
Farr revealed to Outsourcing-Pharma that Pivotal´s three-year strategic business plan includes seeking more acquisition targets, adding that company leaders “hope to increase our service offerings across all needed area within clinical development.”