In clinical research and treatment development, clinical research organizations (CROs) are frequently a sponsor’s most important partner and ally. Depending on the nature of the clinical trial, and your existing capabilities as a sponsor to run the trial, the CRO company of your choice will typically be responsible for facilitating most of the micro and macro processes that go into designing and running a successful clinical trial.

When contracting a CRO to help you with your trial, you are transferring over a large portion of responsibility into the hands of your clinical research partner. The CRO of your choice will have the responsibility to control a variety of factors and processes of a clinical trial, and depending on their expertise, team structures, service offerings, internal resources and many other capabilities.

Your ability to find and contract a top CRO company that is the right fit for your unique trial will be a determinant of whether or not you will be able to operate a high-quality clinical trial that meets your expected timelines, budget and delivers a top-notch patient experience.

At ClaraHealth (a patient-centric recruitment acceleration platform), we have put together an extensive list of the top CRO companies in the US and around the world. This is not a cro rankings list, but rather a compiled list of some of the top clinical research organizations around the world. We have highlighted their strengths and core service offerings to make it easier for you to find the right fit clinical research partner.

In addition, we’ve put together a list of 9 fundamental questions to ask the prospective clinical research organization, which will help you to save time and ensure a right fit in picking the CRO.

1. IQVIA

Formerly known as Quintiles and IMS Health, IQVIA is one of the largest CROs in the world, with a large range of service offerings to help advance clinical research.

The company was founded in North Carolina in 1982, and has since grown to over 88,000 employees in more than 100 countries.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by IQVIA include:

  • Assistance with protocol design
  • Design of phase 1 clinical trials
  • Assessment and improvement of phase 2 and 3 clinical trials
  • Site identification & selection
  • Patient recruitment
  • Access to global laboratories via their wholly owned subsidiary Q2 Solutions

2. Parexel

Parexel is a global clinical research organization that was founded in 1982, and specializes in conducting clinical studies on behalf of its pharmaceutical partners in order to accelerate and ensure the drug approval process of up-and-coming potential treatments. It currently operates in more than 50 countries, and is run by more than 18,000 employees around the world.

The company has a wide range of service offerings, covering nearly every type of clinical trial service to assist sponsors in running successful clinical studies.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by Parexel include:

  • Clinical trial design and development for early phase, phase 2 & 3, and late phase clinical trials
  • Clinical data management
  • Decentralized clinical trials
  • Clinical supply chain management
  • Medical writing
  • Regulatory affairs consulting
  • Pharmacovigilance
  • Biostatics

3. PRA Health Sciences

PRA Health Sciences is one of the largest contract research organizations in the world. Founded in 1976 under the name “Anti-Inflammatory Drug Study Group”, the company was renamed to PRA in 1982. PRA Health Sciences employees more than 17,000 people, and provides coverage to more than 90 countries.

In 2021, PRA Health Sciences was acquired by the Ireland-headquartered global CRO leader ICON, which is also reviewed in this list.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by PRA Health Sciences include:

  • Decentralized Clinical Trials Platform
  • Protocol Consultation & Study Design
  • Onsite Support services
  • Customized Solutions for Biotech (such as asset valuation, regulatory strategy, engagement and support, drug development strategy and funding solutions)
  • Clinical Diagnostics
  • Site Commercial Solutions
  • PRA’s Laboratories for Drug Development

4. ICON

Headquartered in Ireland, ICON was founded in 1990 in Dublin by co-founders John Climax and Ronan Lambre. The company has since grown to be one of the largest CROs in the world. As of September 2020, the company employs more than 15,000 people in 94 locations and across 40 countries.

ICON offers clinical research services which include consulting, clinical development and commercialization across a wide range of therapeutic areas.

In 2021, ICON acquired PRA Health Sciences, which is another CRO and global leader in clinical research services.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by ICON:

  • Commercial Positioning
  • Consulting
  • Early Phase
  • Functional Services Provision
  • Laboratories
  • Language Services
  • Medical Imaging
  • Real World Intelligence
  • Site & Patient Solutions
  • COVID-19 Clinical Operations

5. Syneos Health

Formerly known as InVentiv Health Incorporated and INC Research, Syneos Health is a publicly listed and global contract research organization. The company is based in Morrisville, North Carolina, and specializes in assisting companies with late-stage clinical trials. Syneos Health currently employs more than 25,000 people, and has offices across 91 locations.

In early 2018, INC Research was acquired inVentiv Health, and the merged company was named Syneos Health.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by Syneos Health include:

  • Decentralized Clinical Trials Solutions
  • Bioanalytical Solutions
  • Early Phase
  • Phase II-III/Phase IIIb-IIIV
  • Late Phase
  • Medical Device Diagnostics
  • Clinical Data Management
  • Clinical Project Management
  • Clinical Monitoring
  • Drug Safety & Pharmacovigilance
  • Site and Patient Access

6. Labcorp Drug Development (Formerly Covance)

Formerly known as Covance and renamed to Labcorp Drug Development in early 2021, this CRO is one of the largest contract research organizations in the world. The company claims to provide the world’s largest central laboratory network, and has been rated as one of the best places to work for LGBTQ+ equality by the Human Rights Campaign organization in 2018 to 2021. Currently, Labcorp employs over 70,000 people and is able to support clinical research efforts in almost 100 countries around the world.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by Labcorp Drug Development include:

  • Preclinical Services
  • Clinical Trials
  • Clinical Trial Laboratory Services
  • Post-Marketing Solutions
  • Medical Devices
  • Data & Technology

7. PPD

Also known as Pharmaceutical Product Development, PPD is a large global contract research organization headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina. Started as a one-person consulting firm in 1985, PPD has grown to over 27,000 employees worldwide, and provides a wide range of clinical research services to pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by PPD include:

  • Clinical Development
  • Early Development
  • Peri- and Post-Approval
  • PPD Biotech
  • PPD FSP
  • PPD Laboratories
  • Product Development and Consulting
  • Site and Patient Centric Solutions

8. Fisher Clinical Services

Part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, Fisher Clinical Services is a global clinical research organization with headquarters in Center Valley, Philadelphia.

The company has been in the business of clinical supply chain management for over 20 years, and is focused exclusively on working with the packaging and distribution requirements of clinical trials across the globe.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by Fisher Clinical Services include:

  • Biologistics Management
  • Cell & Gene Therapy
  • Clinical Ancillary Management
  • Clinical Label Services
  • Clinical Trial Packaging & Storage
  • Clinical Supply Optimization Services
  • Cold Chain Management & Expertise
  • Direct-to-Patient
  • Distribution & Logistics
  • Strategic Comparator Sourcing
  • Public Health Research

9. KCR

Established in 1997 under the name Kiecana Clinical Research, KCR is a full-service contract research organization that provides a variety of services for clinical monitoring, safety & pharmacovigilance, clinical project management, quality assurance and regulatory affairs.

KCR operates globally, and has offices in North America, Western Europe, Central Europe and Eartern Europe. The company currently employs more than 700 staff.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by KCR include:

  • Trial Execution
  • Consulting
  • Placement

10. Medpace

Founded in 1992 and based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Medpace is a midsize clinical contract research organization. The company has operations in over 45 countries, and employs over 2,800 people. Medpace provides support services for Phase I-IV clinical trials for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, which include central laboratory services and regulatory services.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by Medpace include:

  • Biostatistics and Data Sciences
  • Clinical Monitoring
  • Clinical Trial Management
  • Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance
  • Medical Writing
  • Quality Assurance
  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Risk-Based Monitoring
  • Medpace Laboratories

11. Clintec

Now in business for over 22 years, Clintec is a medium-sized global contract research organization for pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries, with large expertise in oncology and rare diseases.

The company provides the flexibility and agility of a smaller-sized CRO, while also having a wide global coverage that large CRO companies are known for. Clintec is based in more than 50 countries, and was acquired by the leading global CRO IQVIA in late 2018.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by Clintec include:

  • Clinical Monitoring
  • Project Management
  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Data Management
  • Biostatistics
  • Medical Writing
  • Global Feasibilities
  • Patient Recruitment & Retention

12. Worldwide Clinical Trials

Bringing over 30 years of experience to the clinical research market, Worldwide Clinical Trials is a leading medium-sized global contract research organization. Founded by physicians with a dedication and commitment to advancing medical research, Worldwide Clinical Trials was the first customer-centric CRO.

Currently the company has coverage in more than 60 countries, and has extensive experience in a wide range of therapeutic areas, including central nervous system, metabolic, cardiovascular, oncology, rare diseases and general medicine.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by Worldwide Clinical Trials include:

  • Bioanalytical Lab
  • Early Phase Development
  • Clinical Phase IIB-II Clinical Trials
  • Phase IIIB-IV Clinical Trials
  • Biostatistics
  • Trial Management Technologies

13. CTI

Named #1 CRO in the world for operational excellence at the 2021 CRO Leadership Awards, CTI Clinical Trial And Consulting Services is a medium-sized global contract research organization that has been serving pharmaceutical companies since 1999.

Based in Covington, Kentucky, CTI has offices around the world in more than 60 countries, with coverage in North America, Europe, Latin America, Middle-East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific regions.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by CTI include:

  • Clinical Monitoring
  • Clinical Project Management
  • Feasibility
  • Regulatory Affairs Study Start-Up
  • Medical Monitoring
  • Safety & Pharmacovigilance
  • Biometrics
  • Quality Assurance
  • Clinical Services

14. Wuxi AppTec

Founded in 2000 as WuXi PharmaTech in the city of Wuxi, China, Wuxi AppTec has grown from a single laboratory into a leading global contract research organization with more than 28,000 employees, including 23,000 scientists and more than 30 research & development and manufacturing sites around the world.

With offices in Asia, U.S, Europe and the Middle East, the company is able to provide coverage to more than 30 countries around the world.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by Wuxi AppTec include:

  • Small Molecule Drug R&D and Manufacturing
  • Cell Therapy and Gene Therapy
  • Drug R&D and Medical Device Testing
  • Clinical Services (Phase I-IV)

15. Advanced Clinical

Founded in 1994 and based out of Deerfield, Illinois, Advanced Clinical is a midsize and full-service CRO that helps sponsors with running clinical trials. The company employs more than 700 staff, and offers a wide variety of services across many therapeutic areas. Advanced Clinical has global representation in over 50 countries around the world.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by Advanced Clinical include:

  • Clinical Monitoring
  • Biometrics
  • eTMF & Document Management
  • Feasibility
  • Global Medical Services
  • Medical Writing
  • Project Management
  • Quality & Validation

16. Pharm-Olam

Pharm-Olam is a leading midsize CRO with global headquarters located in Houston, Texas and its European headquarters in Bracknell, United Kingdom. The company employs more than 800 staff, and has 25 offices around the world, with a global coverage in more than 60 countries.

The company has therapeutic expertise in 5 areas, including Rare & Orphan Disease, Infectious Disease & Vaccine, Oncology-Hematology, Allergy and Autoimmune.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by Pharm-Olam include:

  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Study Feasibility
  • Project Management
  • Site Activation
  • Patient Recruitment
  • Data Management
  • Medical Affairs
  • Pharmacovigilance
  • Biostatistics
  • Medical Writing
  • Compliance & Training
  • Clinical Monitoring & Operations

17. Clinipace

Founded in 2003 and based out of Morrisville, North Carolina, Clinipace is a global midsize full-service CRO with a focus on solution customization for clinical trials. The company has a large global coverage in more than 50 countries, and has offices in North America, South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.

Clinipace’s therapeutic focus areas include Oncology, Nephrology and Urology, Rare Disease, Gastroenterology and Women’s Health. The company also has complete therapeutic expertise in Infectious Disease & Vaccines, Cardiology, CNS, Immunology, and Respiratory.

Some clinical trial solutions offered by Clinipace include:

  • Clinical Development
  • Clinical Analytics
  • Clinical Technology and Ecosystem
  • Functional Service Partnership (FSP)
  • Regulatory & Strategic Product Development

9 Fundamental Questions To Ask A Top CRO Company Before Signing The Contract

1. Which Services Does The CRO Provide?

CROs offload a lot of operational tasks from trial sponsors, which can touch any component of clinical trial operations. From formulating an overall study strategy and implementing technologies to support the operational processes of the trial, to picking and identifying sites, and supporting patients during the trial, the range of clinical services offered by a CRO tends to be vast and inclusive of all the typical services and support you will require for running a successful clinical trial.

However, not all CROs are the same in their service offerings, or are able to offer the same depth of capability within a seemingly same clinical trial support process. For this reason it is important to understand exactly which kind of clinical services and support you are looking to receive from the prospective CRO when running your clinical trial.

While services such as clinical monitoring and clinical trial management are offered by the majority of CROs, the specific needs of each trial are unique, and for this reason it is important to first identify what will be the unique services your trial requires. Completing this internal analysis first will help you to understand the extent to which a potential CRO partner will be able to provide all of these services.

Some CROs specialize in specific clinical trial functions which the company may label as a “core services”, in which case this is a sign the company will have more expertise, experience, and will be set up in a way to maximize their capabilities in providing support for these services compared to other services that the CRO offers.

For example, a CRO may include patient recruitment as part of its “core services”, which implies that they are highly skilled in and have the necessary infrastructure to design and implement a high-quality patient recruitment strategy.

Clara Health CRO Support Services: At Clara Health our specialty services include technology-augmented digital and patient advocacy recruitment, as well as patient support via our signature patient recruitment platform, which we use to upgrade clinical trials and deliver results sponsors look for in their recruitment and retention campaigns.

At Clara, we work alongside CROs to supplement and support clinical trials with modern and personalized capabilities that CROs do not typically have the bandwidth, corporate structure or infrastructure to support.

If you would like to learn more about exactly how our platform can upgrade your unique trial, feel free to book a Free 30 Minute Consultation Session Here with one of our in-house experts.

It is helpful to ask the prospective CRO company if they have any relevant experience in running clinical trials that would be an asset in designing and running your study. Previous experience in a related therapeutic area or in running a trial with a similar design allows CROs to have a deeper understanding into potential opportunities and challenges, increasing the likelihood of your clinical study being successful.

For example, if a sponsor is planning to run a trial in oncology, for the purpose of site identification and selection it would be valuable to partner with a CRO vendor that has expertise in this area, as they likely already have a good understanding of which sites will lead to optimal results.

However, it is also important to consider all factors when selecting a CRO vendor and not to rely on therapeutic experience as the sole qualifier for whether or not a potential CRO is a fit for your trial. While previous experience is beneficial, some sponsors close themselves off from working with vendors that have not worked in their therapeutic area, which significantly limits options when choosing a CRO partner that is truly a good fit for their clinical study.

This can impact the end result of your clinical study, as sponsors that are not successful in choosing a CRO vendor that is the right overall fit may face difficulties if the needs of their clinical study aren’t being properly met.

Clara Health: We have worked to provide support for clinical trials across a wide range of therapeutic areas and trial designs. Our specialty is filling in the gaps that CROs traditionally did not have to think about, which include digital patient recruitment, patient advocacy recruitment, and technology-augmented patient support.

Additionally, we are constantly building our proprietary data and running tests in a variety of therapeutic areas. These research efforts allow us to have a detailed understanding of the expected level of difficulty when recruiting particular patient populations, as well as allow us to predict with accuracy which segments of the targeted population will be likely to qualify in a particular study.

3. What Are The Communication Workflows & Expectations For Performing And Delivering Contracted Services?

It is important that you clarify what the expectations for communication will be between your prospective CRO vendor and your internal teams, as you will most likely be working with the CRO of your choice for the entire duration of your clinical trial.

There are a vast variety of factors and success determinants for a clinical trial, which are continuously undergoing change as the study unfolds. For this reason, it is recommended that you work with a CRO that is proactive in their communication, so that you are kept up to date with information about important changes as your clinical trial progresses.

A vendor that is proactive rather than reactive in their communication and approach to dealing with arising issues is one of the most important qualities in CRO. Challenging situations will naturally arise, and the promptness with which they are taken care of will significantly impact your clinical trial’s degree of success. Therefore, seeking a vendor that is able to match the standard of communication that you as a sponsor would like to experience throughout the duration of your partnership is one of the most critical steps in determining which CRO is the right fit for your clinical trial.

We’ve included a few additional questions pertaining to the communication structure and reporting expectations that you can ask a prospective CRO vendor to determine the degree of fit in this particular category:

Communication Expectations:

  • If we were to move forward with you, which of your team members will be our main point of contact?
  • How available will you be outside of the scheduled meetings to address any of our concerns or additional requests?
  • What will be the frequency at which update meetings will be conducted, and who will be present at those meetings?

Reporting:

  • Which clinical study processes will be reported on, and what will be the workflow for how we will receive this information?
  • What will be the cadence at which we will receive progress reports?
  • Would we be able to access metrics electronically via an interactive dashboard, or will you send us formal reports?

Clara Health: At Clara Health, we directly interact and actively work with several key stakeholders involved in running a clinical trial, which includes sponsors, CROs, sites, and patients. This unique position allows us to have a centralized perspective which helps us to see all the moving parts of a clinical trial at the same time, which helps to identify issues and relay this vital information and insight back to the sponsor (or other appropriate stakeholders) in the shortest time possible.

The ability to access this perspective allows us to gather the most accurate, complete, and up-to-date information about how the clinical trial is unfolding, and quickly becomes very valuable to sponsors for their clinical trial.

As an example, we may receive feedback from patients about having an unsatisfactory experience with a particular study site. We are able to aggregate and analyse this information, and relay our findings back to the sponsor and the study site to improve the experience for other patients.

4. What Is The CRO’s Client Satisfaction Record?

It is a good practice to request information or metrics from the prospective CRO vendor that can point to the degree of satisfaction of their past clients. Prior to signing the contract, vendors will naturally do their best to uplift their image and future value to you during their sales conversations with you and your team. It can be tricky to get an objective understanding of what the partnership experience will actually entail, especially when there are multiple vendors fighting for your commitment.

We recommend that you ask the prospective vendor to provide success metrics regarding areas of clinical trial operations that are going to be important for your trial.

For example, you may be interested in learning about the vendor’s relationship to finances, in which case it will be useful to ask them about situations in which they went over the planned budget, and investigate into the reasons behind that. Alternatively you may be concerned about potential delays in timelines, in which case it would be helpful to learn about metrics regarding the CRO’s ability to meet timeline expectations.

You may also request to talk to the prospective CRO’s past clients, which will help you to gain insight into what the relationship was like and give you the opportunity to examine if the way in which the particular CRO manages its relationships and performs its services meets the expectations that you would have for your potential relationship and for your clinical trial.

Clara Health: At Clara Health, our relationships with our partners and with our patients are most important to us. In the unique position where we fit in the clinical trial process, we have the opportunity to directly co-create the clinical trial patient experience with a variety of stakeholders, including sponsors, sites, CROs, and patients.

Our company’s values and culture have been directed and developed to be such that the client and patient experience is at the top of priority for all of our internal teams, and we work to provide the best quality of care to all stakeholders.

We have many testimonials from every type of partner we’ve worked with which we can happily share with you.

5. How Do You Adapt When Encountering Challenges With Running A Clinical Trial?

It is inevitable that challenges and unforeseen changes will arise throughout the operational clinical trial process, and for this reason it is important to work with a CRO vendor that can provide you with evidence of their flexibility and ability to adapt to sudden changes.

The ideal CRO partner is one that is highly consultative throughout the entire process, and has an ability and the initiative to deal with challenges at their seed stage, prior to them turning into major obstacles for the success of your trial.

CROs naturally have a large reach, and there are a lot of different clinical trial mechanisms and processes that are under their control. They are able to monitor and respond to what is going on in every key link in the chain of the clinical trial operation.

It is reasonable to expect this level of oversight from a CRO, and additional questions that can help you gain insight into this include:

  • What are some examples where the CRO was effective at monitoring the health of clinical trials they’ve helped operate in the past?
  • How quickly does the CRO respond to challenges or opportunities for improving the clinical trial experience?
  • How well does the CRO gather & process information from study sites, study teams, patients & the sponsor, and what are their typical data analysis workflows?

It is also recommended to speak to the prospective CROs past clients to help you gain insight into how well they respond and adapt to the naturally arising challenges in clinical trials.

Clara Health: While CROs do have a large reach within the clinical trial, no CRO has complete visibility into every clinical process. They are not typically set up to support full visibility, which can manifest as a potential threat to your clinical trial as it unfolds. This is especially true for parts of the clinical trial processes that CROs naturally do not specialize and often subcontract, such as clinical trial recruitment.

At Clara, we are in a unique position in relation to other key partners involved in operating the clinical trial. We are in direct and frequent contact with patients, CROs, study sites, study teams, and the sponsor, and have a very deep understanding of the patient pipeline. This allows us the unique ability to go very deep into specific parts of the recruitment chain and investigate what is working and what is not working.

In addition, Clara functions as a resource for all partners in the clinical trial. For example, we work directly with site teams to ensure that they have access to a 3rd party that they can relay their needs to and receive fast support in case there is anything they require that can improve the patient recruitment process.

6. Which Parts Of Operating The Clinical Trial Will You Be Outsourcing?

Since there are so many processes and mechanisms that go into operating a clinical trial, CROs will always outsource some parts of running and managing the study. While you can expect that the prospective CRO will subcontract some of the work, it is important to find out which exact parts the clinical study will be outsourced.

There are certain basic and key clinical processes (such as site selection) that CROs almost always help with, and if you find that these parts of your trial are going to be subcontracted to another company, it is recommended to find out why the CROs operations are set up this way and how this would impact the service you will receive.

Ultimately what matters to you as a partner and client is that the quality of service and care that you will receive will be up to standard, and meet what was promised and what you are expecting. While this trust is important after you have signed the contract, it is recommended that prior to entering into such a significant commitment that you have evidence and the conviction that the CRO of your choice is truly the right fit and will deliver the quality of service that was being discussed.

Since it is impossible to predict exactly what the quality of this relationship and services performed will actually be like in practice, it is recommended that you understand the details of what will be done for your trial and how. Investigating how the CRO outsources and subcontracts services for a clinical trial will help you to gain necessary insight that you would need to make the correct vendor selection decision.

Clara Health: At Clara, we maximize the effectiveness of the digital component across the entire digital & recruitment spectrum, which is added on top of the existing capabilities of the CROs and other vendors involved in operating your clinical trial. In addition, we offer services that augment the CROs efforts, which has the potential to significantly improve the patient experience, operations flows, recruitment and retention performance, which is so important in ensuring the success of a clinical trial.

For example, if a CRO wants to have a great site relationship, we are able to come in as a third party on behalf of the sponsor and CRO and act as a resource and additional support for sites.

In another example, If a sponsor wants to have great relationships with the patient community, Clara is able to come in on behalf of the sponsor and develop these relationships while being perceived more neutrally by the patient community.

7. Do You Have Experience Running International Trials?

If you are planning on operating an international clinical trial, it is recommended to work with a CRO that has extensive experience in this area. While many CROs will offer near-global coverage, the level of experience with specific geographic locations can significantly vary from one vendor to another.

It is important to work with a CRO that has experience running clinical trials in the specific countries and regions you are planning to conduct your research in. Being compliant with the local rules and regulations for clinical testing is a very complex process that requires existing understanding and familiarity in order to ensure logistical smoothness and to mitigate legal risks. In operating a clinical trial, there are a multitude of clinical services and processes, which can greatly vary across the many regions in which you can conduct clinical testing.

A CRO that is lacking experience in operating international trials or operating in particular regions where you plan on conducting research may not be able to meet your desired quality and agility expectations, and therefore may not be the right fit for your international clinical trial.

Clara Health: In the past, we have provided international patient recruitment and digitally-augmented trial support services for clinical trials in the EU, Canada, UK, Australia and South America.

Clara Health is fully compliant to operate international studies everywhere in the world, with the exception of Russia and China.

8. What Is Your Relationship With Patients?

Patient-centric approach to designing and operating a clinical trial is becoming more and more crucial in the clinical research space. The ability of a sponsor and their CRO partner to understand the needs and characteristics of their target patient community is a significant determinant of whether or not the study will be a success.

A sponsor that has close and authentic relationships with the patient community tends to have a deeper understanding of how to create the best clinical trial experience that will attract patients and keep their interest throughout the clinical trial.

In addition, strong relationships with patients allow sponsors and CROs to forecast recruitment and patient retention pipeline with much higher accuracy. This ability is critical for ensuring the success of the trial and mitigating the risk of low enrollment. After an understanding of the patient population is acquired, sponsors gain the necessary insight to design a clinical trial that is not only favorable to their research results, but is also practical and will result in the enrolment numbers they are looking for.

While many CROs have already recognized the importance of patient-centricity and evolved the ways in which they design and operate clinical trials, other CROs have not yet made such a pivot in their values. It is important to understand the degree of importance the prospective CRO places on creating a favorable patient experience, and what kind of infrastructure the company has to support it.

At Clara, we recommend choosing a CRO partner that is adapting to the patient-centric model which is becoming more and more important for running a successful clinical trial.

Clara Health: Since early stages of our development, we’ve had a dedicated patient advocacy team that has been integral in shaping our company’s vision and operations. We have built our entire platform and recruitment infrastructure around creating the best experience for patients. Our teams, corporate values, service offerings and company infrastructure all work in the service of the patient.

In addition, over the many years of being in business we have heavily invested in building authentic patient community relationships that span across a variety of therapeutic areas. This has given us a unique ability to receive feedback directly from patients that is genuine and authentic around marketing materials, strategy for patient recruitment, and other services that we build for specific trials.

This ability to build partnerships with the patient community in an authentic way gives us a very unique ability to engage with the patient community on behalf of a pharmaceutical company, allowing our sponsor & CRO partners the opportunity to start conversations with patients through our in-house patient advocacy team.

If you would like to learn how Clara can help you to build a strong & authentic relationship with your target patient community, get in touch with us and we’d be happy to share our capabilities and previous results with you as they relate to your current or upcoming clinical trial.

9. How Is The CRO Going To Utilize Patient Input For Developing The Trial?

In the initial stages of clinical trial design, sponsors often determine the ideal patient profiles that would help them to drive the most favorable research outcomes for their study. While it is important for the success of your trial to determine who your ideal patients are, very often these projections do not match up with what is viable in practice.

At Clara, we often encounter study protocols that are not set up realistically for successful recruitment to be possible.

Common mistakes that are made when determining trial eligibility criteria and trial design include:

  • Overestimating the interest in the clinical trial from the target patient population
  • A lack of patient focus in the trial design
  • A lack of convenience for patients in their participation
  • Complicated and/or inefficient study experience flows
  • Crafting the eligibility criteria around the patient population that is most likely to lead to favorable study outcomes, without conducting sufficient research to more accurately estimate the recruitment and retention difficulty of the group for a particular study

It is natural for there to be a “push & pull” between the research ideal and the real world practicality. It is important to determine the correct balance between these two sides for your trial, as going too far in either direction will decrease the chance of your clinical study’s success.

The nature of the industry as it is right now is such that there is excess research idealization and not enough emphasis on patient centricity. This distorted orientation has resulted in many clinical trials being unsuccessful, negatively impacting sponsors, patients and the entire clinical trials industry.

The ideal CRO partner should help you make sure that your protocol design sets your study up for success. The CRO should be able to help you determine the proper balance between the research ideal and the real world practicality, and back up their findings with sufficient research and patient data that can project your trial being a success.

Clara Health: When formulating a recruitment and retention plan for our clients, we begin with conducting thorough research into the target trial patient population. This allows us to get a clear understanding of which recruitment channels will yield the best results and what kind of marketing materials will resonate with the prospective study participants.

To ensure accuracy and real-world applicability of our research, we consult and collaborate with our internal patient advocacy and patient support teams, as well as with our clients and patients representing the target trial patient profiles. We then tie our findings back with any existing proprietary data that we have in connection with the therapeutic area or the prospective target patient group.

Our unique position within the clinical recruitment chain gives us the presence and deep-rooted access needed to effectively tap into any of the three patient traffic sources: digital recruitment, offline recruitment, or patient advocacy recruitment.

Once a recruitment campaign has gone live, we constantly monitor, analyze and optimize our performance to make sure that the processes we have in place are as efficient as possible and drive the greatest results. In addition, we have the capability to layer in any traditional advertising (such as billboard ads) if requested by the study sponsor.