A Strategic Partner, or a Vendor Looking to You for the Answers?

Your compound holds great promise, and your investors are banking on a breakthrough. Which do you pick to run your clinical trial — a CRO that will share the risks and work with you to reach a common goal or a vendor who’s waiting on you to have all the answers?

Any capable CRO can provide manpower and execute orders on behalf of a sponsor, no questions asked, with little stake or interest in the endeavor’s ultimate success. There’s no incentive to try harder.

What you need is a strategic ally, a company that joins you, lockstep, in pursuing shared goals and greater outcomes. Not a vendor, but a partner. Krista Armstrong, Premier Research’s Senior Vice President for Clinical Development Services and our global head of neuroscience, describes the difference — and how to find a clinical development partner — in the industry trade magazine PM360.

Best Practices for Forging Strategic Sponsor-CRO Relationships explains how such a relationship is rooted in candid dialogue that enables the CRO to:

  • Fully understand the sponsor’s needs. The CRO needs to know what keeps the sponsor up at night and use that insight to address concerns and head off issues
  • Rock the boat. A worthy CRO must challenge the sponsor, sharing expertise gained from experience with other similar studies and situations
  • Be attentive. When the sponsor and CRO talk every day, these details are less likely to slip through the cracks
  • Staff appropriately. CROs must staff to meet their margins and may have alternate plans for a project team when the current assignment ends
  • Know the individual players. With direct personal communication, a CRO can get to really know the sponsor’s team: who needs lots of backup, who just wants the facts, and who is the strongest influencer

A strong partnership benefits from continuity and continuous learning. In a longstanding strategic relationship, the CRO moves with the sponsor from study to study, accumulating invaluable knowledge and insights about the sponsor’s organization and industry segment.

A strategic partnership also involves risk-sharing. When sponsor and CRO pursue common goals, following a timeline and plan that was developed mutually, risk-sharing can be highly beneficial. If the CRO isn’t hitting its targets, the sponsor isn’t paying for failure — but if the CRO delivers ahead of schedule, the sponsor may be able to submit its dossier earlier, financially benefiting both parties.

Dr. Armstrong shares much more insight in the PM360 piece. Check it out!