Saama is proud to kick-off the first installment of our Clinical Trial Excellence for Tomorrow and Beyond blog series, each of which will be authored by one of Saama’s six new Clinical Board of Advisors members. This week, Jonathan Zung, Ph.D. President of Clintrax and former Group President of Clinical Development & Commercialization Services at Covance Drug Development, offers his perspective on the types of partnerships that will help CROs optimize clinical trial success in the 21st century.
The complexity and cost of clinical trials continues to increase, while options for investigators and patients interested in participating in a trial have never been greater. The ultimate objective is to make it easier for investigators and patients to participate in a trial. The challenge, however, continues to be the need to simplify and optimize the different steps in the clinical trial process so the trial is attractive to the investigator and patient. Each step, whether it is site feasibility, site contracting, data management, protocol optimization, etc., requires a different way of thinking and a set of tools that can reduce the trial burden and complexity, while introducing more consistency and simplicity. Niche providers often deliver unique solutions that address specific pain points, bringing consistency and simplicity to the processes they address. These providers must be able to seamlessly integrate into the clinical trial ecosystem.
So how does integration occur? It starts with sponsors and CROs understanding what their core competencies are (and are not), along with those areas where innovation, appropriate technology and best practices exist outside their walls and should be leveraged. This understanding and collaboration will allow CROs and sponsors to engage providers who can bring their unique solutions in order to deliver more efficiency into the clinical trial process. This will then lead to a partnership where CROs can focus on what they are good at and leverage providers who bring unique skills and expertise to complement their capabilities. It will allow for a reduction in timelines, higher quality, and ultimately an improved experience for the investigator and individuals who enrolls in the trial.
Embedding the CRO-Sponsor-Third Party provider partnership will take trust and open communication. The CRO and sponsor need to be open and honest about their core competencies and areas where others can bring the expertise that is required. Advances in technology will remove any barriers in connecting people and systems, so the worry or concern of introducing another provider into the CRO-sponsor relationship can be effectively mitigated. Ultimately, such CRO-Sponsor-Third Party partnerships can create a more efficient and effective clinical trial experience for all involved.
I am excited about the opportunity to be part of the Saama Advisory Board so that unique industry perspectives can be leveraged in developing fit-for-purpose solutions.
Saama’s Clinical Trial Excellence for Tomorrow and Beyond blog series continues next week with Opinder Bawa, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at the University of San Francisco (UCSF) and former UCSF Chief Technology Officer, offering insights into the technology developments that will be critical to the successful conduct of clinical trials in the 2020s and beyond.