Industry Trends | How an FSP Model Can Optimize Your Clinical Research Program

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To understand how to best deliver optimal, timely clinical research programs, staying ahead of the trends influencing the market is key – particularly those pertaining to drug development outsourcing models.

The market has evolved in the last few years with significant changes in clinical research organization (CRO) engagement models. Where full-service outsourcing (FSO) models used to dominate, we now see increased interest in flexible and scalable functional service partnership (FSP) solutions.

PPD’s FSP solutions help drug developers meet their timelines by delivering top-tier staff who bring a problem-solving mindset and unmatched breadth and depth of therapeutic and functional experience to the clinical development services provided. In recognition of these changing market dynamics, a complimentary report is now available from PPD exploring several key factors influencing increased adoption of FSP models and the benefits that doing so will bring to a clinical study.

Benefits of Using FSP Outsourcing

PPD’s report highlights resource flexibility as one of the top reasons for selecting an FSP outsourcing model. When beginning a clinical research program, which could potentially take years to complete (pre-clinical to post-marketing), hiring full-time employees (FTEs) to cater to the natural peaks and valleys of resource needs along the clinical development journey can be challenging. To solve this challenge, PPD’s FSP solutions help clients plan for their resource needs at project conception and provide access to highly trained experts that give clients flexibility to quickly scale resources up and down, as needed, to complete their project on time.

Another benefit of the FSP model that’s highlighted by the report is getting access to complementary skills and expertise. In a highly competitive hiring environment where companies across the industry fiercely compete to attract and retain high quality talent with specialized expertise, PPD FSP solutions provide reliable access to a wide range of resources to support key functional areas, fill gaps in internal capabilities, or enhance functional expertise. In addition, PPD attracts and retains top-tier talent in a very competitive environment by creating a culture that’s committed to upskilling and reskilling employees, expanding skill sets, and training for future needs.

Access to technology, greater efficiencies, and using fewer vendors are also benefits of an FSP model highlighted in the report and can be viewed as interrelated; FSP programs, in short, allow the sponsor to work smarter. Companies like PPD, that offer both full-service and FSP outsourcing solutions, deploy the latest in innovative technologies to increase efficiency across all areas of clinical development regardless of the delivery model. PPD FSP solutions also create efficiencies by tapping into the full depth and breadth of talented top-tier experts and unmatched therapeutic and functional expertise across all phases and at all levels, including senior roles. Having this operational, functional, technical, and therapeutic expertise within a single organization also enables vendor consolidation, which provides the ease and convenience of working with a single partner and reduces the administrative burden on the sponsor.

Trends Impacting FSP Utilization

Market movements also influence popularity of various outsourcing models. PPD’s industry trends report explores three key industry challenges contributing to increased adoption of FSP solutions. These are:


1. Speed to Market – In the post-pandemic world, there is increased pressure to expedite speed to market -with new technologies and regulatory pathways having evolved to accommodate rapid progression, as well as competitive pressures and the commercial benefits of being first to approval. To address this, the flexibility of FSP engagements is increasingly suited to scaling up during times of pressure to deliver projects on time.

2. Talent Shortages – As mentioned above, demand for certain skillsets can be very high. For example, within the CRA space in North America, the demand for professionals in that role is more than double the capacity available. This has led to an average increase in salaries of approximately 15%1. As need exceeds availability, sponsors cannot hire staff fast enough. Therefore, the FSP model serves to both fulfil an immediate need and lessen risk for the drug developer.

3. Clinical Research Site Relationships

With available resources at a premium, sponsors are vying to keep investigators and sites happy so they continue supporting their clinical trials. One way to do this involves better responding to pain points for sites. An FSP solution is a popular way to address this as sponsors can assign teams to align to site specific systems and processes and facilitate positive site partnerships.

Get the report today to learn more about the changing market.

Learn more about PPD® Functional Service Partnership (FSP) solutions.

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