Gartner prescribes trial planning tools for R&D ills

Drug companies and medical device firms are searching far and wide for ways to develop new treatments without breaking the bank, and the software industry has been all too happy to point out where various tools can help these outfits save money and boost efficiency. Gartner, the IT industry analysis firm, weighs in on best practices and clinical trials software that can aid productivity in a recent Bio-IT World article.

For those who follow the clinical trials software game, it's known that tech firms are trying to fill every need and niche for drug developers from planning a study to managing regulatory documents. Yet Gartner highlights the lack of adequate study planning done in the industry, opening the door to further use of clinical resource management tools. These tools allow developers to plan budgets, assess required resources and review other operational aspects of clinical trials.

Drug companies can cook up their own systems for planning trials or, as they often do, break out Microsoft Excel and plug in their best estimates of trial costs and needed resources such as clinical supplies of experimental drugs. But custom software jobs can get pricey and Excel wasn't designed for trial planning. Chicago-based ClearTrial, featured as one of FierceBiotechIT's 5 emerging eClinical firms in May, has tried to fill this void in available tech options with clinical trials operations software. As noted in the feature, the company's been growing rapidly in recent years with customers such as Abbott Labs ($ABT), Merck ($MRK) and Roche adopting its software.

ClearTrial CEO Mike Soenen told Bio-IT World that the firm's technology enables companies to forecast different scenarios factoring in the cost, duration and goals of a study. As the study is under way, companies can "easily view project status and trends," giving developers the change to "quickly drill down and pinpoint underlying problems putting the study at risk," Soenen told the magazine.

Gartner analyst Steven Lefebure also covers several other industry best practices in the article, including real-time visibility of study information, balancing protocol design and stud as well as keeping project managers on target with study timelines and needed resources.

- get more in the article

Special Report: ClearTrial--5 emerging eClinical firms to watch