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Criteria for site selection in industry-sponsored clinical trials: a survey among decision-makers in biopharmaceutical companies and clinical research organizations

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BACKGROUND: Knowledge of what the pharmaceutical industry emphasizes when assessing trial sites during site selection is sparse. A better understanding of this issue can improve the collaboration on clinical trials and increase knowledge of how to attract and retain industry-sponsored trials. Accordingly, we investigated which site-related qualities multinational biopharmaceutical companies and clinical research organizations (CROs) find most important during site selection.

METHODS: An online survey among decision-makers for trial site selection in the Nordic countries employed at multinational biopharmaceutical companies and CROs was conducted. The respondents' experiences with and perceptions of site selection were addressed to evaluate the relative importance of site-related qualities. We included up to four respondents per company, representing different geographic regions. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize findings.

RESULTS: Of 49 eligible companies, 20 biopharmaceutical companies and 23 CROs participated. In total, 83 responses were analyzed (estimated response rate 78%). A relative importance of site-related qualities was identified: For example, 88% (binomial 95% confidence interval [CI] ±7%) preferred reaching enrollment goals at trial sites in their region 10% quicker rather than cutting the costs at all sites by 20%. Likewise, 42% (CI ±11%) of the respondents preferred that trial sites were best at having the first patients ready for inclusion right after site initiation visit compared to having good data entry, documentation, and reporting practice (25% [CI ±9%]), easily reachable site personnel and backup (23% [CI ±9%]), fast contractual procedure times (6% [CI ±5%]), a key opinion leader associated with the site (3% [CI ±4%]), and updated equipment and facilities (1% [CI ±2%]). In total, 75% [CI ±9%] agreed that their company would be interested in cooperating with an inexperienced trial site if the site had access to a large patient population and 52% [CI ±11%] had experienced that their company selected an inexperienced trial site in favor of an experienced site due to a higher level of interest and commitment.

CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that recruitment-related factors are pivotal to the pharmaceutical industry when assessing trial sites during site selection. Data quality-related factors seem highly valued especially in early phase trials whereas costs and investigator's publication track record are less important. Experience in conducting clinical trials is not imperative. However, this applies primarily to late phase trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number708
JournalTrials
Volume20
Issue number1
ISSN1745-6215
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2019

ID: 58969748