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Where east meets west – the future of CROs

12th Mar 2014

Western CROs continue to up their game. They are offering unique services in a marketplace where the big CROs of the east are providing an unsurpassed scale of resourcing to support the externalization of discovery services. I believe there is space for everyone here, but there are common challenges that add to the value proposition for firms looking to complete work outside the walls of their own organization.

The ‘deliverables’ from these engagements, regardless of geographic location, are almost always actionable scientific results. Decision cycles need to be compressed to keep the progress going at pace. There’s one thing that all these types of organizations have in common – the data and the results.

CROs from developed and emerging countries are set to put their skills to good use. This year, ten countries will spend about 80% of the total $1.6 trillion invested on R&D around the world. The combined investments by the US, China and Japan will account for more than half of the total. That’s great news for CROs across the board as firms look to outsource all or part of their research and development (R&D) work.

So how can CROs make the most of this opportunity? There are three key elements all CROs need to deliver on top of the scientific value:

#1Portability: data packages generated by CROs need to be transferred seamlessly in a way which replicates clients’ in-house procedures. All data must be fully usable within clients’ informatics systems.

#2Incorporability: all data from CROs must be usable within clients’ own informatics systems. It should be possible to incorporate results into the rest of the scientific data.

#3Reproducibility: CROs must capture data which is fully traceable and in a format which supports collaboration and data sharing. It’s an issue already high on the agenda with theNational Institutes of Health (NIH) recently highlighting reproducibility and cautioning that research must also provide a solid foundation for future scientists to further biomedical progress.

No matter where a CRO sits, without portability, incorporability and reproducibility, the reason for externalizing in the first place may be negated by extended decision cycle times.

Does this all sound familiar? I’m sure for many of you it does.