The 25th study to make this highly sought after achievement was at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, a site of the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It aims to build on existing safety and effectiveness data for ocriplasmin, a treatment for some people with the rare eye condition vitreomacular traction.
Recruiting a first global patient is a key performance indicator for the life sciences industry in clinical research delivery, as it shows the Network can support the rapid set-up of studies.
Since the Network started to record first global patients, it has achieved 42 in total. But it is during the past fiscal year that it has seen a rapid upturn in the number of studies to make the achievement. This is due to the reduction of study set-up times.
Jonathan Sheffield, CEO of the Clinical Research Network, said, “Achieving a first global patient shows that the U.K. has the infrastructure to compete on the international stage in terms of clinical research study set-up. The Network is driving down the time it takes to set up a study in the U.K. and this, in turn, is being rewarded with a record number of these achievements.”
Five of the studies that have achieved first global patient were sponsored by Novartis U.K. These included studies in psoriatic arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute heart failure and psoriasis.
Darren Gerrard, a senior clinical study manager at Novartis U.K., said, “What we excel at is being the fastest country globally to start our trials and get patients on to new treatments. This is encouraging more clinical trials to be placed in the U.K., when many similar companies are pulling out.”
“Many trusts are now winning more commercial work due to their ability to quickly agree costs in line with the costing template, which in turn has led to excellent metrics on start-up and giving them more time to recruit to target,” he said. “I cannot emphasis enough how a consistent approach to site set-up in line with NIHR guidance has become. We set ourselves above the competition by aligning site costs and using standardised contracts.”
Gerrard continued, “This is all about partnership with our NIHR and local research Network colleagues and team work, working better together nationally, which will continue our success in a difficult marketplace. Fast start-up can only lead to more trials placed in the U.K., better patient outcomes and experience of new medicines.”
Professor Dame Sally C. Davies, chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser at the Department of Health, said, “Rapid study set-up is integral to attracting new studies and companies to the U.K. This is a key aim of the NIHR and plays an important role in the government’s strategy for U.K. life sciences.”