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Operational Differences between Product Development Partnership, Pharmaceutical Industry, and Investigator Initiated Clinical Trials

New article by Piet van Eeuwijk and colleagues

Medicine development is a lengthy endeavour. Increasing regulatory stringency and trial complexity might lead to reduced efficiency, dwindled output, and elevated costs. However, alternative models are possible. We compared the operational differences between pharmaceutical industry sponsored trials, product development partnership trials, and investigator-initiated trials to identify key drivers of inefficiency in clinical research. We conducted an exploratory mixed-methods study with stakeholders, including clinical trial sponsors, contract research organisations, and investigators. The qualitative component included 40 semi-structured interviews, document reviews of 12 studies and observations through work shadowing in research institutions in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Switzerland. The findings were triangulated with an online survey polling clinical research professionals. The operational differences were grouped under five categories: (i) trial start-up differences including governance and management structure; (ii) study complexity; (iii) site structural and organisational differences; (iv) study conduct, quality approaches, and standard operating procedures; and (v) site capacity strengthening and collaboration. Early involvement of sites in the planning and tailored quality approaches were considered critical for clinical operations performance. Differences between the types of trials reviewed pertained to planning, operational complexities, quality approaches, and support to the sites. Integration of quality-by-design components has the potential to alleviate unnecessary process burden.