Only 35% of Sponsors Have Met Their Outsourcing Match


Applied Clinical Trials

We all need help sometimes. For pharmaceutical companies, this often comes in the form of a reliable and competent contract research organization.

We all need help sometimes. For pharmaceutical companies, this often comes in the form of a reliable and competent contract research organization.  The sweeping presence of CROs across the pharmaceutical landscape opens numerous opportunities for sponsors and providers looking to begin or continue collaboration in clinical development. With ever-increasing procedural complexity of clinical development activities, provider outsourcing becomes a powerful tool. However, one size does not fit all when it comes to the best outsourcing philosophy for a sponsor’s clinical development needs and specifications. Priorities ranging from budget to emerging market reach greatly impact the optimal outsourcing model for the job. ISR’s Clinical Development Outsourcing Models (2nd Edition) helps pharmaceutical sponsors gain a comprehensive understanding of how to identify the outsourcing model most compatible with the priorities of their company. CROs will understand current user perspectives on a number of outsourcing models and arm themselves with the knowledge and insight to succeed going forward in their clinical work. 


Clinical Development Outsourcing Models (2nd edition) provides detailed insight into sponsors’ selection drivers, usage, and overall experience/satisfaction amongst seven outsourcing models. 107 respondents were surveyed for this report, all of whom must 1) work at a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company with an annual R&D expenditure of at least 100 million dollars, 2) have responsibility for outsourcing clinical trials, and 3) be sufficiently knowledgeable about their company’s clinical development outsourcing model.

While respondents report a generally high level of outsourcing within their company, the level of reported satisfaction with their current provider model adds an important layer to consider. Indeed, findings indicate that a substantial proportion of respondents are not fully satisfied with their CRO model. Only 35% of those surveyed agree or strongly agree that their company has found the ideal outsourcing model.


In Search of the Ideal Outsourcing Model


Source: Industry Standard Research, Clinical Development Outsourcing Models (2nd edition), August 31, 2015.

The consistently high use of outsourcing in clinical development work speaks to a deep and ongoing relationship between pharmaceutical sponsors and CROs. However, the reservations voiced by the majority of respondents indicate, at a high level, that many sponsor organizations are still in search of a suitable outsourcing method for their clinical development needs. For sponsors, you have a number of outsourcing approaches to consider when deciding on the type of model that will best fit your clinical development needs. Use this report to understand the nuances of each to better suit your requirements. For service providers, the report findings will provide insight concerning the aspects of clinical development work that pharmaceutical companies hold highly when choosing an outsourcing model. Applying this information will enable you to work seamlessly with your sponsor by anticipating their needs accordingly.


The nature of outsourced clinical development activity today is a multi-fold process that begins with a clear understanding of the CRO’s capabilities and the sponsor’s clinical development needs. The ability to recognize the optimal outsourcing model for a sponsor’s development work is key in creating productive, efficient relationships between parties. ISR’s Clinical Development Outsourcing (2nd edition) report provides a comprehensive means for sponsors and providers to enter into clinical development activity with a sense of confidence in their outsourced approach.

For more information on ISR’s Clinical Development Outsourcing Models (2nd edition) report, please visit ISR’s report page at:


Andrew Schafer is the President of Industry Standard Research.

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