A Glimpse of Partnerships

May 6, 2009
Marissa Shapiro

Applied Clinical Trials

A brief look back at the recent 18th Annual Partnerships with CROs.

Ending this past Thursday, IIR’s 18th Annual Partnerships with CROs and Clinical Providers wrapped up four days of informative sessions from a wide range of experts as well as industry networking. Professionals had the opportunity to meet each other both inside the exhibit hall and outside the show during networking sessions hosted on the poolside patio of the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Florida.

Perhaps a result from the inevitable drawbacks set on by the economy, many observed the show was lighter in attendees compared to previous years. But while attendance may have been lighter than usual, it did not lend itself to lighter sessions. Presenters continued to provide substantial insight and expertise on the past, current, and potential future trends taking place in the clinical trials industry.

The first day consisted of either half- or full-day workshops covering a range of topics from CRO performance metrics, outsourcing 101, clinical trial finance, conducting trials in non-traditional markets to contract approaches.

One half-day workshop, "CRO Strategies for Adapting to the Changing Tides in Pharma," addressed the notion that pharma is no longer a recession-proof industry, according to John Hubbard, global president of ICON Clinical Research. Following a lengthy discussion on the shifting relationships between CROs and Sponsors and how to manage those ties efficiently in such a shaky environment, audience members got the chance to work together in teams during an interactive exercise.

The rest of the conference featured a helping of general sessions each morning followed by five tracks of 45-minute presentations conveniently set in rooms accessible from the exhibit floor, topics fed the appetites of every area of industry-from CROs to vendors, to sponsors. As partnerships remained the theme of the show, speakers delved into deeper threads including working together for collaborative solutions; development models for strategic sourcing; quality of trials and patient safety; complexities of global trials; and optimizing sourcing contracts, budgets, and processes.

On the final day of the conference a special presentation from Terry Bradshaw brought a different, light-hearted, spin on what can be a heavy fix of industry discussion.

After two lucky audience members received an autographed football and Steelers jersey by sitting in a previously marked seat, Bradshaw came on stage with enough energy to fill the enormous room-which he later, jokingly of course, attributed to an actual case of Attention Deficit Disorder.

What could Terry Bradshaw possibly have to say to a group of clinical trials professionals? It seemed that while the audience may have thought they would only find a brief break of entertainment before the hustle and bustle of the show began, they in turn were given a very simple but essential underlying message: Be nice to people and keep smiling. The significance of this message, as Bradshaw went on to elaborate, is that in establishing and developing successful partnerships it is vital to maintain healthy relationships with your partners.

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