The complexity of today’s clinical trials, the regulatory burdens and the disease states being tackled make the current drug discovery market a difficult one in which to operate, Dr. Jeffrey Kasher, vice president of clinical development organization for Lilly Research Laboratories at Eli Lilly, told more than 350 industry members last Saturday evening at the Site Solutions Summit in Clearwater Beach, Fla.
Eli Lilly, he said, works to create innovative medicines. “Clinical sites – you’re involved in the development of innovative medicines, too. The mission we’re on collectively is a challenging one.”
Kasher accepted the Summit’s annual Eagle Award, presented to one sponsor and one CRO that best contributes to improved sponsor/CRO-site relationships.
PPD claimed the honor among CROs. In accepting the Eagle Award, Dr. Martin Lee, vice president of sites and patient recruitment, said, “We value sites as customers – the CRAs need to be assisting you.”
More than 300 sites voted via confidential ballots to select this year's recipients. Sites were asked to evaluate companies they had worked with in the last 18 months on criteria including professionalism, partnership, efficiencies and financial considerations.
Kasher of Lilly made it personal. “What we don’t do enough is to pause and reflect on why we do what we do. All of us know someone struggling with Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia or diabetes, for example. Those are the folks we go to work for every day."
Both companies have established business groups focused on clinical trials. PPD now has a Strategic Collaborations Group and a Global Investigative Services Group. Two years ago, Lilly established a Clinical Development Liaison position to match protocols with sites.
“We’re happy with how that’s going,” Kasher said, “but nothing makes me happier than to receive this award from you – our key customers.”
The annual Site Solutions Summit brings together leaders in the clinical research process, including research site executives and professionals, executives from sponsors and CROs, and other senior-level industry representatives. In a collaborative setting, these stakeholders tackle the business challenges they face and identify best practices to meet those challenges.
"As the voice for the clinical research site community, the Site Solutions Summit is pleased to recognize PPD and Eli Lilly in setting the pace for partnering with sites," said Christine Pierre, president and CEO of RxTrials and founder of the annual Summit. "The Eagle Award is so named because of everything this noble bird symbolizes—strength, courage, purpose, keen vision. We see these same characteristics as vital for meaningful partnerships in our industry. PPD and Eli Lilly exemplify all of these."
--Cheryl Appel Rosenfeld