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CBI’s conference, Contracting for CROs, which took place December 2-3, brought together professionals of the CRO and sponsor fields, while probing some of the most vital topics that emanate from this complex relationship. Of the 55 industry professionals in attendance, 33% were sponsors, 42% were with CROs, and 25% were categorized as "other" (3rd PartyVendors, etc.).
Sessions touched upon issues ranging from proposals and bidding processes to utilizing metrics for measuring performance and making beneficial decisions.
One attendee, Michael Loftus, an Account Director for Worldwide Clinical Trials, had the intention of facilitating business development by meeting new decision makers on the sponsor end.
Apparently at this conference, interaction was key. “I was very impressed by the conference and the open forum kind of situation. Lots of times it’s not that personal,” said Loftus. “I met some good contacts and although no business has come to date, the people I’ve emailed have actually responded.”
While the open forum environment allowed for a productive learning experience, there was no shortage of controversial topics or frustrations being shared.
“Sometimes you can tip toe around delicate topics, but you’re interacting with these people that you potentially if not already are doing business with,” acknowledged Ravin Warnakulasuriya, chairman of the conference and Vice President of Clinical Operations, North America for Averion International Corporation.
A topic Warnakulasuriya noted as one that bred a good amount of feedback from both sides was in regards to standardizing proposals. On the CRO side, these businesses want to set themselves apart from their competitors, and where else to do this than in a proposal. But, on the sponsor side, they want to be able to make comparisons as easily and efficiently as possible.
“It was one of those meet in the middle aspects. Allow some flexibility for CROs to be different and show their granularity rather than give that up for convenience,” said Warnakulasuriya.
Editor’s Note:Applied Clinical Trials and CBI are owned by Advanstar Communications.