Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) has just been welcomed into Quintiles’ Global Prime Sites group, becoming one of only four clinical research groups worldwide to make the cut since the program started in 2007.
The prime sites are essentially very large, high-performing, usually hospital-based research groups with which Quintiles has worked for years and desires a closer, more alliance-like relationship. For SCPMG, this means Quintiles will now provide access to all of its larger studies before offering them to other sites. It also means SCPMG gets funding from Quintiles to dedicate a full-time employee to managing the new relationship between the two entities.
“I think it’s going to be really good for the both of us,” said Donald Fong, director of clinical trials for SCPMG’s Department of Research & Evaluation. “Quintiles is the largest CRO, so this will allow access to so many more trials for our members.”
Adam Chasse, senior director of Quintiles’ Prime Sites program, said the goal is to have SCPMG working on about 20 Quintiles studies in the first year of the new partnership. That’s quite a ramp up when one considers that, in the past 10 years, Quintiles and SCPMG have worked on 30 studies together.
In return, Quintiles gets access to a healthcare group with 6,000 physicians, several hundred principal investigators across 13 hospitals from San Diego to Bakersfield, and the 3.2 million Southern California residents in Kaiser’s health plan.
The doctors of SCPMG have been conducting clinical research for many years, Fong said, but the center just developed a formal clinical research group in 2004 to streamline regulatory issues and better handle coordination of studies. SCPMG now juggles about 400 trials per year.
SCPMG’s principal investigators work in about 40 therapeutic areas, but key ones include oncology, cardiology, allergy, infectious diseases and HIV, said Fong. The center hopes to expand further into neurology and psychiatry.
When Quintiles launched its Global Prime Sites group three years ago, Queen Mary College (the medical school at the University of London) became the first member. Next, in 2008, came Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. Last year, Quintiles asked the University of Pretoria in South Africa to come aboard.
With the Prime Sites program, said Chasse, Quintiles is attempting to sign up large, high-recruiting sites that can accommodate studies best done in an inpatient setting, and in the most pressing therapeutic areas.
The program has grown by one site per year, but that’s about to accelerate on a global scale. Chasse said Quintiles will be adding more than just SCPMG in 2010.