Picking a partner for your biotherapeutic program is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make. When you partner with a CRO, you’re melding outside expertise and resources with your internal knowledge base to expand and accelerate your problem-solving capabilities. This is a tremendous gain, but it’s important to remember that you are the client, and your needs are the basis of the relationship. The CROs that understand that will have the experience, attentiveness, and flexibility to customize their partnership and solutions to you, no matter your stage of development.
In many cases, initial conversations between clients and CROs begin several steps past where they should. This can mean that you end up with a great deal of information about what an organization can do, but very little about how those capabilities relate to your needs. Choosing the right partner for your biotherapeutic program is a process that requires targeted inquiry; the right partnership begins with the right questions.
You need to know more than just what an organization can do; you need to know how — and why — they do it. This means drilling down on three main points:
1. Organizational philosophy
2. Return on investment (ROI)
3. Level of optimization
By following these paths of inquiry to strategize your selection process, you will find the right partner for your biotherapeutic program’s needs. You’ll find a CRO that will make your challenges their own.
1. Philosophy — What’s Theirs?
Try this: Ask your CRO about their philosophy and see how long it takes before patients enter the discussion. If it takes longer than you’d like, that could be a warning sign that they’re not the right fit.
The importance of your research to patients should be as top-of-mind for your partner as it is for you. When they see the bigger picture and share your sense of urgency, you’ll function as one, speeding your progress toward a mutual goal. Seeing eye to eye isn’t a necessity in every interaction, but your CRO’s overarching philosophy must align with your own. Your choice of partner directly impacts the patients you’re targeting, so getting this right is an absolute must.
It’s also important to gauge the CRO’s overall working philosophy in terms of its commitment to rigorous science, uncompromising quality, and accurate data of the highest integrity. If your prospective partner wavers or obfuscates in any of these areas, the potential consequences go beyond timeline and budget concerns and straight to the validity of your results. In the absence of quality data, you risk making ill-informed decisions, so if you don’t have full confidence in their commitment to doing things right, look elsewhere.
2. ROI — How Much Will “Low Cost” Cost You?
The price of a CRO’s services is certainly a major factor in choosing a partner, though in most cases, you get what you pay for. More specifically, if you base your decision on the costs of services without determining exactly what you’re receiving, you’re inviting a subpar experience. In some cases, getting a “deal” is possible because you’re just one of hundreds or thousands of clients, which, from the other party’s perspective, can relegate you to a number to be ticked off a list. When you’re competing for attention against the number of projects that are frequently ongoing at large-scale CROs, you’re not getting the personalized attention that guides successful biotherapeutic programs.
Frequently, working with this kind of CRO leads to completely avoidable problems that originate with a lack of customization. This can lead to higher costs and unmet schedules, negating the lower starting price. Smaller, boutique CROs often gain customers from larger CROs because their flexibility and personalized service enable them to provide better solutions. In the end, what may appear to be a higher initial cost pays off in terms of total expenditures, schedule adherence, and overall quality of work.
3. Optimization — Whose Solutions Are You Getting?
When you’re trying to find the right CRO for your research, it’s vital to determine whether their capabilities are truly suitable for your needs. For example, while the upper limits of their measurement capabilities might be interesting and even impressive, it doesn’t matter how many elephants they can weigh if you’re trying to weigh feathers. To determine how precisely a CRO can calibrate their services, they need to hear and respond to your specific needs. If their go-to approach is a plug-and-play process, odds are the solutions implemented for your research were developed for someone else. Do not accept this form of relationship: Your partner’s solutions should be based on your challenges.
To effectively optimize services for your biotherapeutic program, a CRO needs deep experience, high flexibility, a commitment to client centricity, plus extensive chemical expertise. When they take a holistic approach born out of diverse experiences — in terms of both projects and personnel — and apply that to understanding your specific challenges, you gain an expert perspective that enables finely tuned solutions. This approach delivers on the promise of flexibility, allowing effective communication and agile responses to evolving situations, ultimately resulting in higher quality outcomes.
Do Your Due Diligence & Make a Confident Choice
Picking a CRO partner can make or break the development of your drug. It is therefore of the utmost importance that you base your evaluation on the most pertinent criteria. Ask about previous successes and how an organization adapted to challenges. Ask how they are applying lessons learned to current and future programs. Above all, keep the ideas explored above in the front of your mind as you explore options — ask direct questions and expect clear responses.
Your needs differ from those of every other biotherapeutic program in existence, and finding a CRO that shares your operating philosophy, provides tailored solutions that protect timelines and budgets, and responds to your needs with competence and haste is the key to getting the most out of your program. That outcome is good for your bottom line, and it provides maximum benefit to the patients this industry exists to serve.
Explore how Prolytix solves challenges with custom patient-centric solutions that keep your innovation on track.