ICON sponsored research outline partnership strategies to optimise clinical development

CROs can provide a range of expertise to bring know how and solutions to the highly technical challenges of transforming clinical trials. Sponsors recognise the value of CRO partnerships; it is estimated that by 2020, 70 percent of all clinical trials will be outsourced to CROs.

According to Tufts, the role of CROs is becoming increasingly significant as they become more involved in clinical research and are seen more as strategic partners, providing access not only to specialised expertise, but also to patients around the world. Deloitte believes that giving control for management of the trial process to external partners with expectations set around outcomes is an effective way for sponsors to make full use of their external partners’ depth of knowledge gained from repeatedly executing the service.

Current clinical partnership models often fail to integrate the multidisciplinary expertise of both partners, resulting in inefficient trial design and suboptimal patient recruitment.

Improving Pharma R&D Efficiency - the value of Strategic Partnerships

In the ICON and Informa industry survey 'Improving Pharma R&D Efficiency', executives were asked 'How important will strategic partnerships with CROs be to the success of your clinical trials in the next 5 years?' 83% of respondents stated such relationships would be 'Very Important' or 'Important'. With the growth in specialisation of clinical research, partnerships between sponsors and CROs are likely to grow in value.


  • 83%

    of respondents believe strategic partnerships with CROs will be important to the success of clinical trials over the next 5 years.
  • 21%

    say collaborative development with outsourced/virtual development partners will help improve clinical development efficiency.

Optimising Collaboration Effectiveness in Alliance Partnerships

In the ICON sponsored 'Optimising Collaboration Effectiveness in Alliance Partnerships', Tufts CSDD facilitated a roundtable of senior pharma industry executives investigating how to create a shared vision of the clinical development continuum through a new sustainable growth model that minimises inefficiencies in sponsor-CRO alliances and enables improved feasibility and access to patients.

Today, every large sponsor has engaged in at least one alliance partnership with a CRO. As much as 50 cents on every dollar is spent on CRO support of drug development activity, according to Ken Getz from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. “Despite decades of increasing reliance on CROs, trial success rates and overall drug development cycle times have not improved,” says Mr Getz. “And the cost to develop a successful drug continues to rise.”

Key themes for optimising collaboration effectiveness

  • Evolve the partnership model to 'Design & Execution'
  • Develop a joint innovation agenda
  • Implement an integrated approach to patient centricity
  • Build partnership trust

Download the report and find out how to drive study performance with a framework that is designed to help you:

  • Establish unified strategies at study outset with an evolved ‘design and execute’ approach
  • Jointly evaluate new technologies in pilot studies that can accelerate timelines and generate transformational trial enhancements
  • Prioritise patient centricity by keeping sites and patients engaged throughout the entire trial process