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Good planning, good results
WAYNE, Pa.—Quintiq, a provider of advanced planning and scheduling (APS) solutions, recently announced that it will be providing an advanced planning system to clinical research organization (CRO) PRA International to help PRA better plan the acceptance of new clinical studies and to allocate resources more effectively and efficiently for its Phase I studies.
"This is an important deal because this is a client who operates in the CRO industry, which plays heavily into the pharmaceutical world, an area that we want to be in more heavily," says Joachim Arts, vice president business development of Quintiq.
Quintiq, he says, is eyeing healthcare-related organizations in particular these days, as they could benefit greatly from APS systems that can improve efficiency, throughput and more.
"You see a desire for this kind of solution in manufacturing, but not so much historically in the more service-, clinical- and research-oriented aspects of companies in pharmaceuticals and healthcare," Arts says.
What happens instead, Arts says, at a pharmaceutical company for example, is that a lot of thought goes into the research and development at the front end and the marketing of a product at the back end, but often money is simply poured inefficiently into all the logistical efforts in between those two ends of the spectrum.
CROs, too, can benefit because of the many resource and scheduling challenges in clinical studies, trying to make the best use of expensive equipment and clinicians' time as patients move through the process, he notes. So, landing PRA give Quintiq a foot in the door in the CRO space, and a global one at that, he notes, and might also lead to opportunities with more pharmaceutical companies, as well as hospitals and other healthcare entities.
CROs also provide an attractive opportunity because they are increasingly asset-holders and not simply service providers, Arts says. Companies like PRA are increasingly owning clinical sites and hiring clinicians, and this means they are taking on more risk with their increased assets and overhead, and can benefit from APS software and systems.
Initially, PRA will implement the Quintiq APS software at its clinical pharmacology centers located in Lenexa, Kansas, in the United States and in Groningen, The Netherlands, for the execution of its Phase I clinical studies.
Phase I studies present unique planning challenges from the set up of study conduct through study execution to delivery of the final outcomes to the client, Quintiq notes. Because the tests conducted in Phase I studies are time-sensitive and run in short timeframes (usually minutes), there is a need for specialized equipment for specific functions, which in turn must be run by uniquely qualified staff. PRA has expressed that the use of Quintiq APS should provide multi-project optimization as well as the flexibility to respond to last-minute changes desired by pharmaceutical clients.
Accurate planning also will improve safety for study participants and improve the quality of the outcome of clinical studies, Arts says.
PRA was looking for a single platform, if possible, to solve the complex planning puzzle associated with the details of conducting its early development services clinical trials and, after a competitive evaluation process, including a proof-of-concept test, PRA selected Quintiq.
"The flexibility of the Quintiq planning system is very impressive," says Jeannie Inge, vice president information technology at PRA. "Quintiq was the only contender able to adapt specific rules and fulfill all our planning requirements. We challenged them, and they succeeded."
"While Quintiq supports a wide variety of corporations in many sectors, we view serving the healthcare industry as especially important. The new PRA contract allows us to demonstrate our commitment to supporting this vital industry," says Arjen Heeres, COO at Quintiq.
PRA International conducts clinical trials in more than 75 countries across six continents and provides services through all phases of clinical development. PRA performs studies in all therapeutic areas, with specialization in oncology, neurosciences, respiratory and allergy, cardiovascular and infectious diseases. PRA has supported more than 2,100 clinical trials through its 36 global offices. PRA's early development services group provides a full range of Phase I-IIa services with 228 beds in the United States, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Also, PRA's GLP-compliant Bioanalytical Laboratory in the Netherlands has been providing a comprehensive range of services to pharma and biotech clients for nearly 25 years.
Since 1997, Quintiq has provided advanced planning, scheduling and supply chain management software solutions, boasting more than 500 implementations in use in 68 countries.