Big pharma companies remain interested in the functional service provider model for outsourcing, and CROs are trying to respond in kind.
Eli Lilly ($LLY), Merck ($MRK) and Sanofi are among three of the top 20 companies that still desire this kind of contract, according to William Blair equity analyst John Kreger, as quoted in an interesting Outsourcing-Pharma story on the issue. While traditional CROs cover a whole study, the functional service provider (FSP) steps in to assist more with the data management side of the trial process.
Full-service CRO contracts may be more common these days, but companies including INC Research and inVentiv are planning, or have taken steps in recent days, to adapt their offerings to respond to the FSP demand.
INC Research is on the verge of signing an FSP deal with an unnamed pharmaceutical company, INC's vice president of alliance Andrew Townsend told Outsourcing-Pharma. And the company grew its FSP capabilities substantially with its $232 million purchase of Kendle back in May, the article notes. Also, inVentiv recently made its $50 million offer to buy KForce's clinical research division, which the article notes has had a robust FSP focus and will boost inVentiv's offerings of the service.
FSP interest had begun to spike at least two years ago, according to Outsourcing-Buzz-Blog.com.
Still, FSP contracts remain competitive. As the Outsourcing-Pharma article explains, Pfizer had conducted business with both Kendle and Kforce's clinical research division, but is now moving elsewhere as it consolidates vendors.