CRO Quintiles will soon announce the addition of two new sites to its elite Prime Sites program. Both in the U.K., they are: University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust; and the Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust, with its academic arm Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry and the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
The new additions are part of Quintiles’ effort to ramp up its eight-site program, which launched in 2007, to a 20-site program by the end of the year, said Lisa Becker, vice president and global head of integrated patient and site strategies. The goal, she added, is to recruit 1,000 patients through the Prime Sites this year.
The Prime Sites are essentially very large, high-performing, usually hospital-based sites with which Quintiles has worked for years and with whom it desires a closer, more alliance-like relationship. The designation means Quintiles will provide access to all of its larger studies before offering them to other, non-Prime sites.
Part of the arrangement, said Becker, is that each site agrees to dedicate employees to working closely with a Quintiles Prime Site manager. This keeps the relationship close and expectations properly aligned.
According to Becker, the Prime Sites—which last year had enrolled a total of 300 patients in nearly 50 studies worldwide—have study start-up times about 30% faster than non-partner sites. The key to the program’s success, she said, has been Quintiles’ ability to harmonize operational processes, drive efficiencies in start up and build better relationships with site staff.
With the Prime Sites Program, Quintiles is attempting to blanket the globe with huge, high-recruiting sites that can accommodate studies best conducted in an inpatient setting, and in the most pressing therapeutic areas, said Becker. Quintiles Prime Sites thus far (excluding the two newest sites), starting with the most recently added, include:
Quintiles won’t reveal its future additions. But others are willing to speculate. Michael Martorelli, director at investment banking firm Fairmount Partners, consultant to the CRO industry and a long-time watcher of the space, said that with four Prime Sites in the U.S., three in the U.K., two in Asia and one in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe would be logical locations in which to establish a presence if trying to be truly global.
Martorelli also put China and India on his list and said it wouldn’t surprise him if Quintiles also added one or two more U.S. sites. He cited Boston, Cleveland, Chicago and Texas as locations with large medical institutions that would make good partners.