How To Work Well With A CRO

Having access to the resources a full-service clinical research organization can put at your disposal can be a game-changer. Companies that are testing drugs, medical devices, techniques, and products all frequently contract with a clinical research organization. It's important, however, to understand this entails more than signing a contract and leaving it up to the CRO's team. Take a look at how you can maximize your investment by doing a few small things.

Know They Contract

Take the time to hire an attorney who's familiar with both business and intellectual property laws, especially issues arising from research, development, and patents. They should also understand medical privacy issues. Have them read through the details of your contract and highlight their potential concerns. Remember: if a benchmark is not in the contract, you can't expect the folks at the CRO to meet it. The same goes for terms, conditions, limitations, and usage rights.

Clear Communication

Beyond your most direct points of contact, take the time to contact the clinical research organization and get names and contact info. Find out who their counsel is. Also, learn what their organizational chart looks like, and make sure everyone you contact is included in your Rolodex. It's better to overdo making a contact list than it is to get stuck not knowing who to call or email.

Use Technology to Streamline Things

The internet is your friend. This goes double if you're having a CRO conduct work outside your country. It's not uncommon for the best test groups to be located in isolated population clusters, and you should expect to follow the data to whatever place it says the research needs to be done.

Get your teleconferencing systems ready for communication under whatever circumstances are available at the remote site. That may mean cutting back on things like video quality and multi-party conference to deal with bandwidth issues. It's better to have a dependable connection than to have everything in hi-def.

Set Your Priorities

Conduct a realistic assessment of what you expect to come from the research. Be aware that failure is most certainly an option, and focus on doing good science rather than getting to market.

Break your needs up into "critical" and "like to have" items, too. Ask the CRO to work up a cost projection based on both lists so you can prepare your budget. Make sure financing is in place on time to start, too.