While we’ve all heard that developing a new drug costs more than $2 billion, the average cost of a Phase 3 clinical trial (across all therapeutic areas) is roughly $21 million over the course of about two years. When you break the expenses down by day ($26,000) or week ($134,000), the true cost of a clinical trial comes into focus. These daily and weekly increments paint a distinct picture of the underlying opportunities to make adjustments that impact your organization’s fiscal health.
Technology-powered solutions save time and money
One of the quickest ways to brighten your trials’ financial picture is by uncovering inefficiencies in behind-the-scenes operations. By this I mean manually maintained spreadsheets and reports, repetitive tasks and processes, and the all-too-common “waiting to receive data or information.” With contract research organizations (CROs) taking on more clinical trial activities than ever, many are onboarding technology-powered solutions that enable an easy switch from spreadsheets to automated processes, and checking off boxes in the gained efficiency column along the way.
Manual processes are extending trial timelines
Manual management and tracking of trial operations such as site activation, onsite monitoring, and issue management hinders productivity and cumulatively adds days and weeks to study timelines. Stagnant trial oversight practices have employees handling data across multiple entry points, crunching numbers on spreadsheets, and building reports from scratch. These methods consume valuable employee time and worse, leave data vulnerable to errors. Recent reports show less than 6% of trials start on time and just 10% finish on time, resulting in slipping timelines and late deliverables.
Shave time off a trial’s timeline with the right processes
Using a technology-enabled solution to automate these processes opens the door to an entirely different clinical trial oversight paradigm. What if a CRO could reduce report-building activities by 10 hours each week? What if scheduling several meetings each month to review spreadsheets and confirm data integrity became a thing of the past? Would delivering decision-ready insights to the sponsor on-demand change the daily work burden for employees?
The potential savings in time and money realized outshine the investment needed to put the right technology in place. Let’s take the conservative view: assuming your organization is conducting 20 or more trials per year, shortening the timeline of each trial in the clinical development pipeline by one week could add up to more than $1 million in savings (before offsetting for technology costs). Once the right processes are in place, the savings — both in time and money — are there to be had.
Improve data integrity and produce better analytics
The move to near real-time delivery of actionable insights removes the shackles of error-prone spreadsheets and frees up employees to focus on activities that support the health and performance of the clinical trial. Employees can rely on trustworthy data that delivers relevant and timely insights, enabling them to make decisions and take action faster than ever before.
What would your organization do with the money saved?
Let’s face it, automation and people processes aren’t the sexiest topics in business, but a brighter financial picture always attracts a whistle. Over time, incremental changes to internal processes can move the needle on a clinical trial’s bottom line. Imagine the cumulative effects of trimming just one week off each clinical trial your CRO runs in a year. Aside from significant financial and productivity gains, new technology solutions provide fertile ground for new innovations and ways to optimize operations across your organization.
Brion Regan is Product Manager, Trial Oversight at ERT