RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwired - December 10, 2015) - To support clinical activities, life science companies host a number of different structures. According to a study by primary intelligence firm Cutting Edge Information, just over half of surveyed companies (55 percent) report completely centralizing their clinical operations structure. At 84 percent, the report found that biotech companies report the highest percentage of centralized teams.

By comparison, just over half of surveyed small pharmaceutical firms report a centralized structure. Additionally, centralized teams exist at only 2 of the 12 Top 50 pharmaceutical companies surveyed. Remaining surveyed companies decentralize their teams by therapy (19 percent), country (12 percent) or business unit (14 percent). For example, among surveyed Top 50 and small pharmaceutical firms with decentralized teams, many opt to segment these teams by therapeutic area.

Some surveyed companies benefit from adopting a decentralized clinical structure. An executive from one such company explained that decentralized clinical structures support competition between therapeutic areas while allowing for some level of autonomy. At his company, the practice allows clinical teams to concentrate on scientific aspects unique to targeted therapeutic areas. However, he cautions that decentralizing teams may make standardizing procedures and developing companywide best practices more challenging as teams become entrenched within departmental silos. To address this challenge, his company bridges gaps in communication by conducting standard operating procedure (SOP) training, therapeutic area meetings and additional companywide sessions.

Surveyed companies studied between three and 10 therapeutic areas, depending on company type. Predictably, large pharma companies report more diverse portfolios than smaller pharma or biotech groups, as large pharma teams are likely able to leverage more resources than their counterparts.

Across pharmaceutical, biotech and device companies surveyed, oncology represented the largest field of study. Twenty-two companies surveyed report being active in this therapeutic area. Many companies also report involvement with infectious disease and central nervous system studies -- 16 and 15 companies, respectively. By comparison, musculoskeletal and lifestyle medication trials fall on the lower end of most companies' pipelines. No companies surveyed report conducting radiology studies.

Clinical Development and Trial Operations: Protocol Design and Cost per Patient Benchmarks, available at, is designed to help clinical operations groups fund and staff their trial teams using key performance indicators, such as cost per patient, patients per CRA and sites per CRA. The study also showcases clinical trial protocols that balance scientific needs and patient needs. Use this report to:

  • Make budgeting decisions based on per-patient cost benchmarks
  • Adopt a patient-centric approach to protocol design and patient recruitment/retention
  • Find the right balance between in-house resources and outsourced expertise
  • Develop criteria to select the right vendor/CRO

For more information on Cutting Edge Information's pharmaceutical clinical investigator research and FMV services, please visit

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Rachel Shockley
Marketing Team Leader