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Maintaining a Robust Clinical Trial Pipeline

The clinical research landscape is likely forever altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially regarding trial continuity and the potential for business development. According to the Lancet, 80% of non-COVID trials were suspended, forcing all major pharmaceutical companies to delay current or planned trials. In May 2020, BioPharmaDive reported nearly 240 trials experienced disruptions, which lead to potentially devastating financial gaps for research companies. While COVID-19 trials made up for some of the losses and other trial work is now mostly back on track, the situation underscored the need for constant attention to the business pipeline.

Keeping trial types and designs diverse, as well as understanding important metrics, helps research companies mitigate the negative effects of trial delays. Increasingly, sponsors want to ensure performance is monitored and reported upon accurately. Having the right technology to provide sponsors with predictability and reliability sets an organization apart, leads to growth, and helps sites secure a position as a loyal partner of choice. Through this, sponsors should understand how sites can provide predictable, reliable trial results. A site can further differentiate and demonstrate how their team approaches enrollment – especially how they track, record, and organize data.

Another ramification of COVID-19 trial work is the demand for increased speed to market from sponsors and communities. The time from the start of the pandemic to the approval of a vaccine was remarkable, but also will likely affect the public’s view of what is possible. Not only will sponsors look to partner with clinical research sites to offer more efficient trials, but the public will also likely demand quicker cures to known diseases.

The first hurdle of speedier trial execution is having the right recruitment tools in place, including social media integration for campaigns. Recruiting with a fully capable clinical trial management system (CTMS) also allows sites to track metrics easier and verify study participant enrollment goals are reached. Tracking recruitment efforts and outcomes can play a strategic role in deciding how to recruit for future trials. Perhaps more importantly, this encourages early enrollment for participants in studies still in the request for proposal (RFP) process.

Easily and effectively deploying remote trials will elevate opportunities for research sites and prime them for increased sponsor awards and participant engagement. In order to capitalize on all the benefits of these trials, clinical research sites must embrace the myriad of technologies making remote and hybrid trials possible. These include texting, video, electronic consent, remote monitoring, and decentralized workflow capabilities.

Maintaining a robust clinical trial pipeline for any type of trial a sponsor may offer includes tracking data collection, analytics, and reporting supported by comprehensive CTMS and eClinical systems. Successful sites have the tools and understand how to measure the return on investment (ROI) of these investments, deploying them thoughtfully to align with growth and revenue goals.

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