Good planning, good results

Quintiq provides advanced planning and scheduling platform to global CRO PRA International

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WAYNE, Pa.—Quintiq, a provider of advanced planning andscheduling (APS) solutions, recently announced that it will be providing anadvanced planning system to clinical research organization (CRO) PRAInternational to help PRA better plan the acceptance of new clinical studiesand to allocate resources more effectively and efficiently for its Phase Istudies.
"This is an important deal because this is a client whooperates 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 presidentbusiness development of Quintiq.
Quintiq, he says, is eyeing healthcare-related organizationsin particular these days, as they could benefit greatly from APS systems that canimprove efficiency, throughput and more. 
"You see a desire for this kind of solution inmanufacturing, but not so much historically in the more service-, clinical- andresearch-oriented aspects of companies in pharmaceuticals and healthcare," Artssays.
What happens instead, Arts says, at a pharmaceutical companyfor example, is that a lot of thought goes into the research and development atthe front end and the marketing of a product at the back end, but often moneyis simply poured inefficiently into all the logistical efforts in between thosetwo ends of the spectrum.
CROs, too, can benefit because of the many resource andscheduling challenges in clinical studies, trying to make the best use ofexpensive 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, anda global one at that, he notes, and might also lead to opportunities with morepharmaceutical companies, as well as hospitals and other healthcare entities.
CROs also provide an attractive opportunity because they areincreasingly asset-holders and not simply service providers, Arts says.Companies like PRA are increasingly owning clinical sites and hiringclinicians, and this means they are taking on more risk with their increasedassets and overhead, and can benefit from APS software and systems.
Initially, PRA will implement the Quintiq APS software atits clinical pharmacology centers located in Lenexa, Kansas, in the UnitedStates and in Groningen, The Netherlands, for the execution of its Phase Iclinical studies.
Phase I studies present unique planning challenges from theset up of study conduct through study execution to delivery of the finaloutcomes to the client, Quintiq notes. Because the tests conducted in Phase Istudies are time-sensitive and run in short timeframes (usually minutes), thereis a need for specialized equipment for specific functions, which in turn mustbe run by uniquely qualified staff. PRA has expressed that the use of QuintiqAPS should provide multi-project optimization as well as the flexibility torespond to last-minute changes desired by pharmaceutical clients.
Accurate planning also will improve safety for studyparticipants and improve the quality of the outcome of clinical studies, Artssays.
PRA was looking for a single platform, if possible, to solvethe complex planning puzzle associated with the details of conducting its earlydevelopment services clinical trials and, after a competitive evaluationprocess, including a proof-of-concept test, PRA selected Quintiq. 
"The flexibility of the Quintiq planning system is veryimpressive," says Jeannie Inge, vice president information technology at PRA."Quintiq was the only contender able to adapt specific rules and fulfill allour planning requirements. We challenged them, and they succeeded."
"While Quintiq supports a wide variety of corporations inmany sectors, we view serving the healthcare industry as especially important.The new PRA contract allows us to demonstrate our commitment to supporting thisvital industry," says Arjen Heeres, COO at Quintiq.
PRA International conducts clinical trials in more than 75countries across six continents and provides services through all phases ofclinical development. PRA performs studies in all therapeutic areas, withspecialization in oncology, neurosciences, respiratory and allergy,cardiovascular and infectious diseases. PRA has supported more than 2,100clinical trials through its 36 global offices. PRA's early development servicesgroup provides a full range of Phase I-IIa services with 228 beds in the UnitedStates, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Also, PRA's GLP-compliantBioanalytical Laboratory in the Netherlands has been providing a comprehensiverange 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 than500 implementations in use in 68 countries.

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