The following interview extract with Elizbeth Pash is reproduced with permission by FirstWord Pharma.

Expert Q&A: The impact of the clinical trial liaison function

The clinical trial liaison (CTL) function was first introduced in 2014 to help sponsors differentiate themselves from the competition by driving recruitment success in clinical trials.

FirstWord spoke with Elizabeth Pash, Senior Director of Global Site Engagement Operations at ICON, to find out exactly what this relatively new role involves, its value in developing and delivering optimal clinical trials and how it is set to evolve in future.

Summary points from the interview:

  • In the competitive world of pharmaceutical research, sponsors can differentiate themselves by driving recruitment success in clinical trials.
  • The CTL role was introduced in 2014 to bring doctorate-trained clinical research professionals into the clinical trial process to support site identification, activation and recruitment, ensuring optimal productivity of clinical trials.
  • While CTLs and clinical research associates (CRAs) are both considered protocol experts and build relationships with sites, CTLs focus on the scientific aspects of a protocol rather than the eligibility criteria and schedule of assessments.
  • At ICON, CTLs have contributed to a 20% boost in the targeted recruitment rate and helped approximately 70% of sites achieve their baseline recruitment goals. In the past five years, they have also helped sponsors bring nine new compounds to market and receive two new indication approvals for already-approved medications.
  • As more clinical trials begin to incorporate more decentralised approaches, the need for roles like CTLs is set to steadily increase across the industry.
  • Potential is increasing for CTLs to establish partnerships earlier with sponsors, supporting trial and protocol design, conducting targeted investigator interviews and applying the information in the early stages of clinical development.

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