Based on Amazon’s approach to building its business, it is logical to conclude that the online retailer would be an amazing CRO. Amazon’s competitive strategy is to aggressively discount prices to win market share. Plus, its customer obsession and disruptive innovation are second to none. Let’s imagine what an Amazon-run CRO would look like.
Fall conference season is upon us and a cursory internet search shows no less than a half-dozen conferences focused on the topic of patient-centricity. Thankfully, the momentum around the topic continues as sponsors and CROs strive to find more patient-centric approaches to conducting clinical trials.
The past several years have brought significant changes to the clinical trial landscape. Mergers and acquisitions, new players, the rapid proliferation of technology, increased patient advocacy, and new regulatory guidelines have added to the complexity of trials and burdened resource-strapped leaders with additional challenges and risks.
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).
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.
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.
As someone who obsesses about root cause analyses, I have naturally been thinking about the primary root causes for why we seem to have lost focus and interest in the sites and what we can do about it.