Survey: Sponsor’s choice of central lab affects investigator’s satisfaction with trial experience
The choice of a central lab can greatly affect a principal investigator’s satisfaction level while conducting a clinical trial.
That is a key finding of Life Science Strategy Group’s recent report, “Clinical Trial Investigator Satisfaction and Central Laboratory Performance.”
Of the 522 investigators around the globe who responded to the online survey conducted in October, 94% said the central lab chosen by the sponsor has an impact on their success (and that of their support staffs), day-to-day activities and willingness to work with that sponsor in the future. When an investigator’s most preferred central lab was selected, 64% reported being very satisfied. When the least preferred central lab was selected, that satisfaction rate dropped to 13%.
“They have to work with a lot of labs, but if they can work with a preferred lab they have a better experience and are happier with the trial, and with the sponsor,” said Jon Meyer, founder and principal consultant with Life Science Strategy Group.
“We hope our report will start to help investigators communicate this point to sponsors,” he added. “We’re saying, ‘hey, it’s important to keep investigators happy,’ and this is one way to do it.”
The central lab ranked as best to work with: Covance. Across all criteria evaluated, Covance scored 8.1 to 8.6 out of 10, one-half to one point above other central labs, all of which scored comparably (7 to 8 out of 10).
“We knew Covance was a favorite, but didn’t expect to see across all criteria such a consistent message,” said Meyer.
Of the respondents, 54% said they preferred Covance. Quintiles ranked a distant second, with 18%, followed by Quest, with 9%.
When asked what labs they had worked with over the last two years, 91% said they had experience with Covance, 78% with Quintiles, 57% with ICON and Quest, 50% with PPD, 34% with LabCorp and 12% with Eurofins/Medinet.
Fast, easy access to the lab/POC and strong communication/customer services were identified most frequently as factors that can lead to a strong relationship between a central lab and an investigator. High-quality lab results, easy-to-use lab kits and overall lab reliability also were cited frequently.
Other performance criteria assessed included lab-provided investigator training, customer service, kit management, reporting, tools/supporting documentation, logistics support, kit quality, call-center response and kit resupply quality.
The survey also teased out some other key issues when it comes to investigator satisfaction.
The one-and-done phenomenon among clinical investigators may be fading. Of the principal investigators surveyed, 84% said they were “very willing” to participate in more clinical trials. Their reasons included knowledge gained from a clinical trial (65%), better care for patients (60%) and access to new medications (56%).
When asked to name their biggest challenges during studies, 85% of respondents said patient enrollment. Said Meyer, “It’s both a limited treatment-naïve patient population, as well as pharmaceutical companies saying, ‘Do it faster’ while at the same time being unwilling to pay sites more money so they can dedicate staff to a trial.”
Enrollment woes were followed by payment/compensation (43%) and trial timelines (39%).
Investigators said they interact with sponsors through face-to-face meetings (36%), emails (34%) and phone calls (33%). Nearly 60% cited these interactions as very important to the success of a clinical trial.
Menlo Park, Calif.-based Life Sciences Strategy Group specializes in strategic consulting, market research and surveys across a variety of therapeutic, technology and service markets in the life sciences.
Meyer said the group will likely repeat the survey in six months.