Report sheds light on pharma and CRO trial enrollment woes

A common refrain among drug developers is that they want clinical trials done in a timely manner (quality and cost are paramount, too). Alas, trials almost always miss completion deadlines. Tackling the problem with deep analysis, DecisionView has produced a report for drugmakers and contract research organizations (CROs) to help them understand the bumps in the road that keep their trials from arriving at the finish line on time.   

Perhaps the steepest bump is enrollment. DecisionView, a San Francisco provider of trial planning software, tapped its major customers such as Merck ($MRK), GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Roche ($RHHBY) for loads of data about the performance of their trials. Its study covers more than 730 trials across 14 therapeutic areas in more than 85 countries from 2005 to 2011. And it found enrollment trends that could help trial planners.

After all, only 6% of trials wrap up on time, with 72% of studies missing deadlines by more than a month, according to DecisionView's release. Every day a program gets delayed can cost pharma companies millions of dollars. That makes 6-percenter status coveted in the drug development world.  

For insiders, DecisionView's maiden "Enrollment Optimization Report" is unlikely to offer many surprises in its conclusions. Take its analysis of trials enrollment in BRIC countries. Enrollment lagged in China, where it took 41 weeks, compared with India and Brazil, where it took 26 weeks. And in Russia, where trials are known to get up and running quickly, studies got started in 31 weeks, less time than in any other BRIC country, according to DecisionView's analysis.

Beyond the impact of where trials took place, the study drilled into several other factors such as the size of a study, phase of the trial, therapeutic area and indication on enrollment timelines. With that data, the analysis strives to pinpoint recipes for getting trials done on time and on budget.

- find a link to the study here
- check out Xconomy's article