As technology advances, sponsors will begin progressively adopting distributed locations and activities in trials. Doing so will require them to identify more sites, onboard different types of sites and optimize trial location to each trial’s activities to preserve the quality of the data being generated, all while ensuring patient compliance and engagement. Third-party service and solutions providers, on the other hand, will need to understand how geography, disease area, indication and target population will inform the most appropriate use of distributed locations, and be ready to offer point solutions that adequately address sponsors’ needs.
Sponsors are focusing heavily on patient recruitment
Patient recruitment remains one of the most challenging and costly activities of running a clinical trial. According to the FDA, only 3% of U.S. physicians and patients participate in clinical trials leading to new therapies, which has profound consequences for development timelines, including delaying market launches. As of 2019, a whopping 80% of trials were delayed due to recruitment difficulties. Moreover, reaching patients is becoming more challenging as biopharmas increasingly target a variety of complex diseases in their clinical trials and use precision medicine in their drug development, both of which result in smaller, highly specific patient populations.
Biopharma companies are subsequently becoming more receptive to using new methods of recruiting patients, such as virtual and distributed recruitment. Among the biopharma and CRO survey respondents, ~95% are interested in alternative trial locations for patient recruitment. Of those interested, ~66% are likely to adopt such alternative locations for patient recruitment within the next three years while ~20% are already adopting them (see Figure 6). And of those already adopting, more than a third expect their adoption to increase over the next three years while the rest expect their level of adoption to remain the same.