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Clinical Trial Collaborations (CTC) Conference Day One Recap


  • April 4, 2017

  • Day One of the second-annual Clinical Trial Collaborations (CTC) conference has reached its conclusion.

    Here are five highlights from Day One’s keynote presentations and leadership panel discussions.

    1. Eli Lilly’s Global Head of Clinical Innovation Explores the Importance of Collaboration and Innovation in Clinical Trials

    Katherine Vandebelt, Global Head of Clinical Innovation at Eli Lilly & Company, analyzed the importance of collaboration in clinical trials in her introductory address to CTC conference attendees.

    According to Vandebelt, a recent Harvard Business Review study showed only 3 percent to 5 percent of organizational staff members can collaborate successfully. This indicates many organizations are missing out on opportunities to foster collaboration and promote growth and development.

    Ultimately, collaboration is a difference-maker in clinical trials. With the right commitment and attention to detail, contract research organizations (CROs) and pharmaceutical companies can drive collaboration with staff at all levels and across all departments.

    “Collaboration is something we should strive to do and strive to do well,” Vandebelt said. “If we can get great minds to come together, great things will happen that are very powerful.”

    1. Fireside Keynote Emphasizes Models for Exquisite Project Delivery with Internal and External Partners

    What does it take to develop the right project delivery model for drug development? Andy Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Clinical Operations at Merck, and Ken Getz, Director of Sponsored Research Programs at Tufts CSDD, explored the topic in detail as part of a fireside keynote.

    Lee pointed out how a large CRO and a small CRO approach drug development may vary – and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

    “Big companies and small companies have very different psychologies,” Lee told CTC conference attendees. “Big companies are like stock brokers who manage a fund, and small companies are like stock owners.”

    However, Lee said a CRO must be able to identify and address drug development challenges, regardless of the organization’s size or stature. With an agile project delivery model in place, a CRO will be able to optimize the time and resources at its disposal and get the best results possible.

    “You’re in a model in every company where you have a set amount of resources. … In larger companies, you may have different levels of flex,” Lee stated. “You really need to figure out how to put that jigsaw puzzle together in the most productive way.”

    1. ICON’s CEO Discusses Major Trends in Clinical Development

    ICON CEO Steve Cutler explored the biggest trends in clinical development in his keynote address to CTC conference attendees.

    Productivity and cost, reimbursement and patient engagement represent the key trends that are impacting clinical development today, Cutler stated.

    In addition, Cutler pointed out there is a discrepancy between the value of pharmaceuticals and how they are viewed by the general public.

    “The value of pharmaceuticals is undoubted, but we’re not seeing that reflected in the pharmaceutical industry or the CRO industry,” he said.

    Pharmaceutical companies are operating in an increasingly complex global marketplace, Cutler stated. But patient collaborations may help these businesses overcome many marketplace challenges.

    “The opportunity to connect with patients is significant, and it is an opportunity that we need to embrace,” Cutler indicated.

    1. Takeda’s Chief Medical and Scientific Officer and PRA Health Sciences’ EVP of Business Development Review the True Value of Transformative Partnerships

    Andy Plump, MD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at Takeda, and Tami Klerr, Executive Vice President of Business Development at PRA Health Sciences, examined the power of transformative partnerships during a joint presentation at the CTC conference.

    Plump suggested a highly networked model can drive transformative clinical trial partnerships between healthcare organizations and patients. To develop this model, an organization must build a culture that promotes agility and openness, Plump said.

    “We can’t build an organization that has deep vertical expertise across every modality. What we need to do is create an agile organization … that partners,” he stated.

    Klerr pointed out that improving cost savings and increasing efficiency are top priorities for many CROs and pharmaceutical companies. Meanwhile, transformative partnerships can provide support in both areas if all parties involved maintain ongoing communication and alignment.

    “You have to be patient and keep everyone aligned from the top down,” Klerr said.

    1. Janssen’s Global Patient Engagement Leader and Senior Director for Benefit-Risk Assessment Take a Look at Patient Engagement

    What is patient engagement, and how can CROs and pharmaceutical companies drive patient engagement day after day? Katherine Capperella, Global Patient Engagement Leader at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Bennett Levitan, MD, PhD, Senior Director for Benefit-Risk Assessment and Department of Epidemiology at Janssen R&D, defined patient engagement during their presentation at the CTC conference.

    Capperella noted patient engagement involves “systematically interacting directly with patients, obtaining expressed and inferred insight from patients and acting on patient perspectives.” She also stated that patient engagement is a continuous process that requires CROs and pharmaceutical companies to connect with patients and learn from them consistently.

    At the same time, growing regulatory and patient momentum for patient-focused drug development/benefit-risk provides numerous external collaboration opportunities, Levitan said. If CROs and pharmaceutical companies embrace patient-focused drug development/benefit-risk, they may be able to reap the benefits of long-lasting patient partnerships.

    Tuesday marks Day Two of the CTC conference and will feature keynote presentations, leadership panels and much more – click here for full details.