Business development from a clinical trial site perspective is increasing the probability of securing research studies needed by it to keep it in business. The process of acquiring a research study and securing the study is known as “Business Development”. In clinical research industry, all clinical trial personnel can contribute to this process. An active business development process increases the odds of finding the right studies.
Finding a research study for site is different from finding an appropriate research study for the site. There are many criteria involved in selecting an appropriate study for a site to conduct. An investigational clinical trial site may receive many feasibility requests from different clients like direct sponsors, Contract Research Organizations, etc., but not all lead to the selection of their site for the study. This is because of many reasons which include the following:
- The investigational sites may not have the appropriate facilities required for a study conduct.
- The investigational sites fail to reach the clients specifications inspite having all the required facilities.
- Lack of trust worthy relationship between the site and its clients.
Business development can be compared with the process of drug development. Likewise, BD has many stages to generate a few suitable studies for a site. They include the lead generation, quality prospects, make the sale and build the relationship.
The marketing approach to lead generating is like retail marketing. The site, at first has to show the capability of their site in conducting a study through feasibility questionnaires. In general all the CROs and sponsor companies maintain a feasibility database of potential sites and update it regularly. When a new research is proposed, then the feasibility questionnaires would be sent to the appropriate sites in the database. If the site has any updated information to the one existing in the database, those should be highlighted in the feasibilities for updating in the CRO database.
The process of screening and converting a possible client (lead) into a likely client is called lead conversion. During the site’s response for a site feasibility questionnaire, contact information should be clearly mentioned for further communication and the communication should be with single person who is directly involved in the clinical trial conduct possibly with the site trial manager.
Once the feasibility questionnaire meets the sponsor/CRO specifications, next step is the site selection visit. The clinical trial monitor or clinical research associate meets the site personnel and checks with the required facilities for the trial conduct and confirms the site for the trial conduct.
Good performance generates repeat business from long term clients. It is much easier to secure new studies from satisfied clients. It is therefore essential to take on only suitable studies and then conduct them successfully.