Global CRO Quintiles has stepped up expansion of its Global Prime Site program, which forms research partnerships with large hospitals and health systems capable of enrolling hundreds of clinical trial patients each year. Having established prime sites in California and Asia earlier this year, Quintiles has now signed strategic partnerships with Arizona State University (ASU) and the Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH), increasing its number of prime sites to seven.
ASU’s Center for Healthcare Innovation & Clinical Trials, part of the College of Nursing & Health Innovation, became the sixth Quintiles prime site partner following similar agreements signed earlier this year with Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Permanente Medical Group and the University of Malaya Medical Centre in Malaysia. Other prime sites are located at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, Queen Mary’s College in the United Kingdom and the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.
The SNUH alliance marks Quintiles’ tenth year operating in South Korea and is its second prime site in Asia. Since 2000, its South Korean workforce has grown to more than 100 staff who have managed more than 100 studies at 540 sites, recruiting 6,850 patients. Quintiles plans to continue expanding its prime site network in the geographic areas in which it already operates, as well as add locations in new markets, such as Southeast Asia, South America and India.
Through the program, which it launched three years ago to address the challenge of enrolling patients in clinical trials, Quintiles has developed strategic relationships with large hospitals and healthcare systems that already conduct clinical research. “The idea behind the prime sites is that we want to drive more study volume and therapeutically diverse studies to single institutions, which usually translates to hospitals or health systems,” said Adam Chasse, Quintiles’ head of global prime sites and senior director of site management. “By doing that we can realize a lot of operational efficiencies, but we can also realize some of our other goals, which are to get more physicians involved with research and therefore provide more options to more patients.”
According to the company, the seven prime sites, which this year have enrolled a total of 300 patients in nearly 50 studies worldwide, have study start-up times about 30% faster than non-partner sites. Key to the program’s success, said Chasse, has been Quintiles’ ability to harmonize operational processes, drive efficiencies in start-up and build better relationships with site staff.
The partnership with ASU differs from other prime site agreements, because the university does not operate a medical center or medical school. However, ASU runs a community-based program called the Community Oriented Network to Enhance Clinical Trials and Research,
which can provide Quintiles with access to large groups of physicians and patients interested in participating in clinical research. Quintiles will work with ASU to make sure investigators are properly trained on how to conduct clinical research.
“The good news is there is a lot of opportunity there to not just get more physicians and more patients involved with the research, but to really mold it in such a way that it understands what it needs to from a quality perspective early on,” Chasse said.
In addition, the partnership supports a wider community-based effort to build Phoenix into a biotechnology research hub similar to Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, where Quintiles has its global headquarters, or other centers in Boston and San Diego. “The clinical research market in Arizona lags other states with comparable population sizes,” said Linda Mottle, director of the ASU Center. “We believe our community-based model can substantially increase the clinical research market in Arizona.”