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The productivity gap in the world of big pharma has been well documented. Commanding almost as many column inches is the evolving relationship between these large pharma players and their clinical trials partners. Once just the ‘arms and legs’ of a trial; providing the patient recruitment, site management and CRAs, today the CRO is increasingly playing the part of clinical innovator. The CRO market is recovering from a plateau during the economic downturn, and although strategic alliances bring a lot of opportunities for future growth, they bring an equal amount of challenges.

These challenges were just one of the discussion points when Scrip Intelligence and Datamonitor Healthcare gathered an expert panel, hosted by outsourcing editor Jo Payne, at the Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference in Orlando, Florida in April 2013. The conversation ranged from the current state of the CRO industry, how it is working with its large and small clients – and its competitors – and how it could lead the way for drug development in the future.

Clinical outsourcing: a changing landscape

After a brief introduction to each participant, the conversation starts by noting the shift in appreciation of what the CRO can provide; from transactional services, to true and strategic partner. Jo Payne asks each of the panelists to comment on to what extent partnering between CROs and the pharmaceutical industry is changing, and how it is changing the day-to-day life working within a CRO.

Partnering power players: risk sharing and governance

With more and more strategic alliance agreements in place, what is the best structure for both parties to work within? Is there a tendency to over-govern? Who is best placed to educate the regulators?

Clients and competition

For the last few years, the eight biggest CROs have been pulling away from the rest of the pack in terms of breadth of services and global reach, but are these larger CROs too focused of picking up partnering deals? Is it a misconception that the larger players only want to align with big pharma? How does partnering disrupt the competitive landscape?

The future: challenge and consolidation

The CRO industry has changed rapidly, in line with the challenges that the pharma industry has had with innovation in drug development. But what challenges does the future hold for the CRO industry itself? Will consolidation continue at the rate it has been?

CRO industry PODCAST – Expert panel discussion highlights

Joanne Payne, outsourcing editor for Scrip Intelligence and Datamonitor Healthcare, shares the highlights of the recent panel debate SCRIP Intelligence and Datamonitor Healthcare held at the Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference in Orlando, Florida. The panel discussed the current state of the CRO industry, how it is working with its large and small clients – and its competitors – and how it could lead the way for drug development in the future. Listen to this podcast to understand the key issues raised by the panel.

Meet the panellists

Joanne PayneJoanne Payne

Joanne Payne is outsourcing editor for Scrip Intelligence and Datamonitor Healthcare. She has been covering the CRO market since 2009 and has edited healthcare titles such as Good Clinical Practice journal, Scrip Clinical Research, and still edits Scrip 100 series including Scrip Asia 100, and Scrip Leaders 100.

A full-time journalist since 2005, Jo has covered various industries such as logistics, oil and gas, shipping, property and advertising. She graduated from the Cardiff School of Journalism with a post-graduate diploma, and before that with a BA (hons) degree in Journalism, Film and Broadcasting from Cardiff University.

Neil FergusonNeil Ferguson

Neil Ferguson is executive vice-president, global business development for INC Research. He has global responsibility for INC Research’s business development, marketing, proposals and strategic alliance development, providing strategic leadership to drive the company’s growth plans.

He has more than 25 years of experience in sales and operational roles in the CRO and biopharmaceutical industries. Prior to joining INC Research, Ferguson held several executive management positions at Quintiles, where most recently he was vice-president and head of commercial sales for North America. In that role, he grew commercial sales revenues by more than 500% over the last four years. As vice-president of commercial operations at Quintiles, Ferguson was responsible for all field staff and managed all back-office support functions including recruitment, training and sales administration.

His global experience includes serving as managing director at Quintiles Taiwan and at Quintiles Greater China. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Applied Biological Sciences from the University of the West of England.
Dr Karen KaucicDr Karen Kaucic

Dr Karen Kaucic is vice-president and global head of PPD Consulting. She oversees product development consulting across all major therapeutic areas as well as the company’s strategic client solutions group. She leads regulatory and medical device consulting and provides strategic direction for consulting in key practice areas such as biosimilars, adaptive trial design, cardiovascular outcomes, rare diseases and pediatric indications.

Before joining PPD in 2009, Dr Kaucic was senior director in oncology clinical development at MedImmuneAstraZeneca. There, she led product development teams for several biologics compounds. Earlier in her career, she was a staff pediatric oncologist and senior investigator at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, where she established the institution’s first hematopoietic stem cell transplantation laboratory, served as an attending physician in oncology and conducted NIH-funded research in signal transduction in human neuroectodermal tumors.

Dr Kaucic received her medical degree from The Ohio State University followed by a pediatric residency at the same institution. She completed fellowships in pediatric hematology/oncology and transfusion medicine at Children’s National Medical Center and The Cleveland Clinic, respectively. She is board certified in pediatric hematology/oncology and holds an active license to practice medicine in the District of Columbia.

John LewisJohn Lewis

John Lewis is vice-president of public affairs for the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO), where he is responsible for communications strategy, advocacy efforts and coalition management.

John has 20 years of experience in communications and public affairs, including directing all marketing and investor relations activities for a global CRO. He is a graduate of Duquesne University and holds an MA in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University.

Joshua SchultzJoshua Schultz

Joshua Schultz is corporate vice- president, Strategic Partnerships, at Parexel International. He leads the Strategic Partnership group at Parexel, which is focused on developing and executing innovative relationships with key pharmaceutical companies. He has held a number of roles within Parexel, including building a group dedicated to efficient operational design and launch of clinical studies (START) and another focused on pharmacovigilance.

Prior to joining Parexel, Schultz served as vice-president of corporate development at Veritas Medicine, which he co-founded. Previously, he worked at Mercer Management Consulting, where he developed growth strategies for Fortune 500 companies.

Schultz holds a Master of Philosophy degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, UK, where he was a Thouron Scholar. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics degree from the Wharton School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.

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