Amidst a shifting clinical landscape characterized by increasingly complex trial designs and growing patient subpopulations, many contract research organizations (CROs) have adopted a “one-stop-shop” strategic approach. As a result, various CROs have undergone significant consolidations and acquisitions of specialized capabilities to address the escalating complexity in clinical trials. However, despite their greater service capabilities, large CROs have hit an inflection point in the clinical landscape, leading to unexpected industry dynamics characterized by a rise in CROs that take a more personalized approach.
A Closer Look into 2023 Large CRO Industry Dynamics
Some industry dynamics emerging among large CROs in 2023 include:
- Large-scale acquisitions with lower-than-expected clinical development earnings
- Acquisition and subsequent divestiture of a clinical development business
- Recent lay-offs and reduced earnings reports among several CRO industry leaders
Worldwide Clinical Trials recently conducted a web-based, quantitative survey among 140 CRO key decision-makers at biotech and pharmaceutical companies of all sizes. We discovered that nearly 50% of respondents state that large CRO instability has negatively impacted their willingness to partner, citing disruptions to their clinical study project teams, service levels and performance delivery, and project timelines. Other drawbacks reported from working with these large CROs were:
These performance disruptions and drawbacks have resulted in an environment of uncertainty among this CRO service provider segment in 2023, with likely ramifications extending into 2024 and beyond.
These survey results also highlight the importance of evaluating a variety of potential CRO partners of different sizes to choose the best match for your clinical development goals and corporate culture. Along with assessing CRO partners, key decision makers should examine vendor selection criteria other than size, such as focused expertise, sense of ownership, flexibility, caliber of project teams, and more.
What Differentiates Mid-Size CROs?
As part of the quantitative research, survey participants were additionally asked to highlight the key benefits of partnering with mid-size CROs. Among the responses included:
At Worldwide, we’re a CRO that prides ourselves on our personalized approach, providing direct access to our therapeutic experts while maintaining operational rigor. Despite a rapidly evolving clinical development landscape, we’ve remained grounded in medicine and science, helping sponsors achieve their clinical development goals across a range of therapeutic areas through our ability to adapt to changing client needs, deliver customized study teams, and dedicated scientific expertise.
In comparison to large CROs who have reached their extensive size due largely to acquisitions, Worldwide grew through delivering high-quality results and establishing experienced, flexible teams. Due to our organic growth, our teams are seamlessly integrated, giving us the ability to pivot quickly based on changing clinical needs while prioritizing customers of all sizes.
Not only do we ensure our senior-level experts are accessible to you, but we also maintain industry-low turnover rates to minimize disruption to the project teams assigned to your studies. We are acutely aware that turnover in key project team personnel can lengthen project timelines and inflate clinical trial costs. Moreover, these delays impact getting potentially lifesaving therapies to patients in need. Additional aspects of Worldwide that differentiate us from other CROs include:
- Our Personalized Approach
When partnering with large CROs, we discovered that 74% of respondents reported concerns regarding a lack of personalized attention. At Worldwide, we understand that every program is different, which means every drug development path forward will be unique. Rather than settling for an “off-the-shelf” approach, you deserve a team that actively seeks customized solutions tailored to your specific study.
- Our Accessible Expertise
We provide direct access to our experts, from our operational and therapeutic experts to our senior-level leadership – we’re here to ensure your program goes as smoothly as possible. We act as an extension of your team, cultivating an open and transparent environment. When considering a mid-size CRO, almost 85% of our survey respondents noted that mid-size CROs’ excellent communication and transparency enhanced their overall satisfaction, while 80% agreed that mid-size CROs provide high data quality measures and are responsive in nature.
- Our Global Reach and Full-Service Capabilities
Similar to the large-scale CROs in the industry, Worldwide offers full-service capabilities across all phases and therapeutic areas. With sites and staff all over the globe, our local teams are culturally and linguistically proficient, with knowledge of the standards of care in each of their countries. From bioanalytical and early phase through commercialization, our global teams have the resources they need to effectively execute the core fundamentals of clinical development, such as:
- Project management
- Study design and reporting
- Data management
- Regulatory services
- Site start-up and selection
- Patient selection
Partnering with Worldwide for Your Drug Development Program
With rapidly evolving market conditions, increasing competitive pressures, and global economic uncertainty, it may be the perfect time to reassess and broaden your clinical development partner base. While large CROs will continue to play an important role in the clinical development space, now more than ever, there is a need for companies that place value on personalized collaboration.
In today’s landscape, Worldwide has a unique opportunity in the market; with our global reach and accessible senior-level scientific expertise, we can conduct large-scale studies across multiple locations without compromising our personalized approach. From our agility and responsiveness to rapid issue resolution via senior leaders, we’re excited to work with you on your next clinical trial. To learn more about our end-to-end services, contact us today.
To read the full report, “Shifting Perceptions of CRO Service Providers: Large vs. Midsize CROs”, click here.
Source: Worldwide Clinical Trials quantitative research survey conducted via third-party research vendor (Q2’23)