RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwired - June 25, 2015) - Sponsor companies may outsource to several different types of contract research organizations (CROs) for a single clinical trial. A traditional full-service CRO can provide sponsors with all clinical trial services, ranging from protocol development to site negotiations and regulatory filings. But sponsors may also turn to specialty CROs for expertise in a narrow aspect of trial management, such as patient recruitment or site management.

"Clinical Outsourcing: Leverage Sponsor-CRO Relationships to Accelerate Trial Timelines," published by pharmaceutical intelligence provider to Cutting Edge Information, found that 75% of teams at Top 10 and Top 50 companies contract with patient recruitment organizations. Another 25% employ site management organizations (SMOs). Sponsors may turn to one of these specialty CROs to conduct a particular part of the clinical trial while maintaining core operations in-house.

However, sponsors with fewer resources may prefer to employ one vendor for all trial needs rather than contract with a few specialty CROs. "Smaller companies may not have the resources to design and manage all clinical trial activities, so they may lean heavily on full-service CROs," said Sarah Ray, senior analyst at Cutting Edge Information. "Specialty CROs may only prove valuable to companies that already have ample resources to conduct or outsource core clinical trial management activities."

When sponsor teams do contract with different types of vendors, it is crucial for them to clearly communicate to the third parties how their roles differ. For instance, a patient recruitment organization will ideally complement a full-service CRO's efforts without conducting duplicating work. Sponsors can facilitate this coordination by outlining each vendor's responsibilities in the initial third party contracts.

"Clinical Outsourcing: Leverage Sponsor-CRO Relationships to Accelerate Trial Timelines," available at, provides best practices for vendor management. The report also examines patient recruitment, site selection criteria and outsourcing metrics. Report highlights include:

  • Metrics detailing clinical trial activities from pharmaceutical, device, CRO and site perspectives
  • Data on surveyed teams' vendor selection process and preferred collaboration type (master services agreement versus functional service provider)
  • Best practice recommendations and projected costs associated with selected patient recruitment activities
  • Profiles of 17 pharmaceutical, biotech, device and CRO-managed clinical trials, including overall trial costs, number of enrolled patients and sites and clinical team size

For more information about "Clinical Outsourcing: Leverage Sponsor-CRO Relationships to Accelerate Trial Timelines" and vendor selection criteria, please visit

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Rachel Shockley
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