Hello and welcome, we are bringing this to you live from Arizona! We are here attending the Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference, and so far everything is going great!
This post, will discuss the strategic alliances and partner relationships that have demonstrated to bring immense value for companies in the clinical trial and pharmaceutical industry worldwide. This information has been provided by Robert Brown, Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships of ERT. Bob Brown has been an integral part of our partnerships program since its development in 2003. Read on to learn how and why the program was started, how it has grown over the years and the increased efficiencies it has been able to provide.
The philosophy behind starting the program was essentially to look beyond what ERT could offer sponsors alone and look toward partners as additional resources to deliver better results, for mutual benefit to both parties. We quickly found that these partnerships required a significant investment in time and effort by all involved. With persistent dedication and teamwork, we have been provided a great opportunity to offer sponsors joint value and multiple efficiencies that neither company could offer alone.
The program launched with Clinical Pharmacology Units (CPUs) and Thorough QT/QTc trials in mind. QT/QTc is a crucial cardiac safety measure for sponsors and an important line of business for CPU organizations. We began to nurture the relationships amongst CPUs with the intention of expanding their breadth of capabilities and further streamlining the process of Thorough QT/QTc trials required for regulatory submission. For several years, the Clinical Pharmacology Units remained our primary target for partnership activities. Within the past 5 years, partnerships have expanded to include Contract Research Organizations (CROs), Site Management Organizations (SMOs) and other ancillary service providers including clinical and imaging labs, as well as other industry consultants. As sponsors continue to outsource the responsibility of managing other service providers (such as ERT), CROs in particular, have become an increasingly important partnership channel.
Partnerships with multiple CROs all vying for the same program has created an enviable position for ERT. However, this could also lead to potential conflicts of interest. When there are several CROs incorporating ERT into their proposed programs, we provide a full complement of technology, people and processes to ensure all partners are able to offer the same levels of value to their clients. Partners therefore differentiate themselves on their own merits, in addition to the other process or service delivery enhancements they developed through our prior collaborations. We also execute bilateral CDAs with each formal or informal partner as well as the sponsor, maintaining the confidentiality of both parties information.
ERT has several strategic and unique partnerships. One in particular helps give us geographic and cultural specialization in Asia. In 2005, we partnered with Site Support Institute in Japan to assist with Japanese business development, as well as project assurance activities, in order to support Japanese sponsors and investigation sites. (To read about our most recent visit to Japan and SSI, please view our previous post.)
Another significant strategic partnership is with one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive drug development services companies, Covance Inc. We acquired the cardiac safety business of Covance, a former competitor, in November 2007. This partnership is an exclusive ten-year agreement whereby Covance looks to ERT as their cardiac safety services provider. As true partners, the breadth and depth of Covance’s clinical services coupled with our commitment to innovative technology for the collection, interpretation and distribution of cardiac and clinical data, offers the ability to provide clients with comprehensive solutions vital to ensuring drug safety.
Many other partner relations are extremely important to ERT across all lines of our business, as we have the opportunity to benefit from increased efficiencies and customer satisfaction. To see a list of all ERT partners and strategic alliances, please visit http://www.ert.com/partnerships/.
While sales and marketing are clearly a part of the process and interaction between the organizations, we believe the real value is in continually improving the quality of the overall delivery and data to the sponsor. When the partner companies learn to work closely together and improve the communication, integration and the overall working relationship, it truly provides the ability to produce a better product and experience resulting in better science at a lower cost, while delivering on ERT’s pledge of “Getting it done. Right.”