The evolution and complexities of drug development have prompted biopharmaceutical organizations to seek collaboration much earlier in their research and development (R&D) programs and better appreciate the value of collaboration in areas such as study planning and start-up. These arrangements are becoming critical to business strategies for many in the industry hoping to create greater efficiencies and advance the R&D of innovative medicines. One key factor that is driving the success of these collaborations is the willingness and commitment to share information such as study materials and training documentation.
To some extent, the Integrated Addendum to ICH E6(R1): Guideline For Good Clinical Practice E6(R2) has come and gone without much fanfare. Perhaps that’s because prior guidance documents surrounding risk-based quality management practices stole its thunder, and sponsors, CROs, and investigators were already well on their way to finding ways to “encourage implementation of improved and more efficient approaches to clinical trial design, conduct, oversight, recording and reporting while continuing to ensure human subject protection and reliability of trial results,” as advocated by ICH E6 (R2).
In the last decade, the healthcare industry has witnessed significant changes, some of which present important challenges to how pharmaceutical companies develop drugs. One such challenge is the shift in influence from the physician to the payer in the adoption of new interventions. This article discusses threats to the traditional model of drug development posed by the increasing influence of payers and considers ways for industry to embrace “value-focused development” to simultaneously adapt to the evolving market and de-risk drug development.
Payer receptivity to high orphan drug (OD) prices and, hence, revenue, will almost certainly begin to wane as budgets are increasingly strained by new therapies and as payers increasingly scrutinize the value of ODs. Indeed, there are signals that payers are becoming increasingly sensitive to the cost of newly approved ODs, even those that confer a clear clinical benefit to patients.
The clinical CRO market is defined as the combination of Phases 1 through 4 clinical activities, excluding discovery, preclinical, central laboratory, and post-approval/commercialization services. Within the $34 billion to $39 billion CRO market, the clinical CRO market alone is valued at $25 billion as of 2017, with an expected CAGR growth rate of 7 percent until 2020 (Figure 1). Almost 80 percent of the global CRO market revenue comes from the clinical CRO market.
There are so many challenges around designing clinical trials that it can often be difficult to decide where to focus your efforts and resources to improve the process. Based on our recent surveys of clinical trial participants, we see that early engagement with patients can change the course of a study for the better — and research shows it can directly impact the cost of conducting the trial as well.
Earlier this year, three members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced H.R.1234, the Domestic Research Enhancement Act of 2017. The partisan legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, enabling CROs to claim a portion of the Research & Development Tax Credit for qualified research conducted in the United States. Currently, pharmaceutical and biotech (sponsor) companies that outsource clinical research projects only claim 65 percent of the R&D tax credit.
In 2014, TransCelerate BioPharma launched an initiative dedicated to creating a common protocol template (CPT), with a vision of addressing the increasing complexity of clinical trial protocol development and supporting the pursuit of protocol quality through a practical, harmonized and adoptable approach. Several weeks ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a final version of its own common protocol template — noting that it was in alignment with TransCelerate’s CPT, specifically, the new enhanced technology-enabled edition. They, like TransCelerate, recognized that the clinical trial protocol deserved renewed attention and modernization.
In the ongoing battle to cut costs while delivering quality and technically sound product, the biotech industry has spent the past two decades gradually moving toward single-use pre-sterilized plastic equipment for both clinical batch and, where applicable, production scale manufacturing. Single-use process equipment can be used and then disposed of, eliminating the development time to validate the sterilization and in-facility sterilization downtime, as well as development time to qualify and verify the cleaning and commensurate cleaning downtime.
According to the 2016 California Workforce Trends in the Life Science Industry, there were 16,000 statewide life science job postings during the calendar year; 2,732 of those jobs related to clinical trials. In 2015, over 85 percent of life science positions required a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Hiring managers expect the strong demand for talent to continue until 2018.