BOSTON—More than 1,300 global investigative sites across 15 countries rate the best contract research organizations (CROs) with which to work in a new survey conducted by CenterWatch, a leading publisher and provider of global clinical trials information. The survey results were released April 3 for The CenterWatch Monthly publication.
Investigative sites rated CROs on more than three dozen individual relationship attributes in six categories. The seven highest-ranking companies were PSI CRO, INC Research, Chiltern, QuintilesIMS, Parexel, Icon and PPD.
The results reflect how CROs have adopted a more strategic view of site relationships in recent years and invested resources in a wide range of initiatives designed to ease the site burdens, support study conduct and improve the efficiency of clinical development processes. For the first time, investigative sites report their working relationships have become more effective and overall CRO performance matches that of sponsor companies.
Though there were significant improvements in site-CRO relationships, areas identified in the survey in need of improving include providing knowledgeable, well-trained clinical research associates, being organized and having easily accessible staff.
“The gaps are closing between sponsors, CROs and sites, resulting in stronger working business relationships that are necessary to ensure clinical trials are conducted efficiently, effectively and ethically,” said Joan Chambers, COO of CenterWatch. “Each partner recognizes the importance of working together. New initiatives are being implemented and resources added to ensure goals are met. While the survey revealed significant improvements, I believe we will start to see initiatives formulated to address lingering problem areas. As the industry continues to evolve, we will see a continued focus on building stronger relationships between sponsors, CROs, sites and the new partner—patients.”
The CenterWatch Global Investigative Site Relationship Survey was first launched in 1997. This year’s survey was conducted online from October 2016 to January 2017, and asked principal investigators, sub-investigators and study coordinators to rate the sponsors with whom they worked during the past two years on 37 relationship attributes, from study planning to innovation, and to rate the importance of those attributes as well. Key changes to the survey included new attributes that addressed issues related to patient-centric protocol design and risk-based monitoring. A total of 12 CROs with sufficient sample sizes were profiled in the analysis.