Survey: Clinical trial costs spike on bigger staffs, recruiting costs

It will come as no surprise to anyone in the biotech field to hear that clinical trial costs are on the rise. But the consultants at Cutting Edge Information decided to survey the biopharma field to see just what is driving up the bill on drug research, and how big the tab is these days.

Pharmalot's Ed Silverman picks up the story citing some key trends, with increasing competition for trial sites and the top-ranked CROs that can deliver data reliably. Developers--a range of pharma, biotech companies and CROs--cited rising costs for recruiting patients and bigger staffs committed to trials.

Staffing on trials from Phase I through Phase IIIa doubled or almost tripled in the three years from 2008 to 2011, according to CEI. Case in point: The number of clinical research associates assigned to a Phase II trial jumped from an average of 3.6 in 2008 to 9 this year.

Add it all up and per-patient Phase I costs jumped from an average of $15,023 in 2008 to $21,883 in 2011, according to the Pharmalot report. In Phase II the tab jumped from $21,009 to $36,070. For Phase IIIa the per-patient bill rose from $25,280 to $47,523.

"Everybody is working hard to control those costs. The biggest thing on the horizon is trying to get a handle on earlier go-no-go decisions," Cutting Edge chief operating officer Adam Bianchi tells Silverman. "The competition for quality sites is creating a lot of headaches. You have a greater number of sites worldwide than ever before, but not all are yielding quality data that companies want."

- here's the story from Pharmalot