INC cozies up to trial sites in hopes of improving R&D results

CRO INC Research ($INCR) is working to strengthen its ties to clinical trial sites around the world through a new program designed to cut back on variability and make the testing process more uniform.

Called the Catalyst program, INC's new offering includes a sort of social network for trial sites, allowing them to create and manage profiles that describe their capabilities. Members of the invitation-only forum will get preferred access to INC-run trials, and the company will assign a relationship manager to oversee the matching of studies to sites.

Catalyst's initial focus is on oncology and vaccine sites in the U.S. and Asia, the company said, and INC plans to get it up and running in the second quarter of this year.

"Sites play an essential role in bringing new therapies to market for patients," INC Vice President Clare Grace said in a statement. "By involving them early on and making them a partner in the clinical development process, studies start more quickly and run more predictably, enabling INC to better deliver on the needs of our customers and ultimately accelerate the delivery of new therapies to patients."

INC has long said that bolstering relationships with trial sites can improve study outcomes. In June, the CRO started what it said was the industry's first site advocacy group, formed in partnership with the Society for Clinical Research Sites to gather investigators and discuss how to improve speed and results in R&D.

In 2014, INC joined the Society for Clinical Research Sites at its highest membership level, giving the CRO a say in its future group decisions. INC has also taken part in the society's training programs and backed an effort to foster communication between sites and sponsors.

- read the statement