How to choose a CRO partner

By David Lawrence |

A Contract Research Organisation (CRO) can provide the information you need to move your product into clinical trials. But with so many CROs available offering an almost endless range of services, choosing the right CRO partner can be difficult.

So in this guide, we aim to break down the process of choosing the right CRO. Ask these questions during the evaluation stage and you will go a long way to finding the right partner for your project.

1. Do they offer the services you need?

Start by making sure your chosen CRO offers the services you need. Some companies provide full development lifecycle support, while others specialise in supporting clinical trials and providing regulatory advice. Narrow down your search to those companies which specialise in the area you need.

2. Do they have relevant experience in your vertical?

It helps to treat the search like a job interview, you need to know that contractors have the relevant skills and experience to do a good job. There are many specialisations in clinical research, such as biologic and biosimilar technologies and cellular therapy or vaccines. Only partner with companies that can prove relevant experience in your area of expertise.

3. What support do they offer?

There is more to CRO than carrying out research, they must also be able to provide high levels of customer support. For smaller projects, this can be an issue because larger CRO companies focus on multi-million-pound contracts with major pharmaceutical companies. This can cause them to neglect smaller contracts. So never assume bigger is better, ask for references to ensure they are a good fit.

4. How much do they charge?

Cost is one of the most important factors. Even for a small project, the costs can run to tens of thousands of pounds while a large project may cost millions. So start by getting a ballpark figure from three or four suitable companies. If you have a small project you may find larger CRO companies are not interested, this will help you narrow down your search to a handful of more suitable providers.

5. Ask for a sample data report

Ultimately, the success of your project will come down to the quality of data obtained. So always ask for a sample data report and check references before proceeding. Ask them what technology they use and how data will be collected and managed. You should also establish that the company has a good understanding of the various regulatory requirements which govern this area.

By following these five steps you can greatly increase the chances of success no matter the size of your project or what stage of the drug development process you are at. To help you narrow down your search, here is a list of some (not all!) of the most recognised CRO's in the market today: IQVIA, PPD, Parexel, TCS, Charles River, ICON, Syneos Health, Medidata, PRA Health Sciences, WuXi AppTec and Envigo.

The above list includes CROs which support all stages of the drug development lifecycle. Narrow your search to the companies in this list and you won’t go far wrong.

David Lawrence

Written by David Lawrence

David is the founder of Vine Resources.


Why Vine Resources?


For more than 15 years, we’ve been providing talent solutions for clients from fast growing start-ups to established brands, providing contract resources, permanent hires and project solutions.


Looking to hire? Click the button below to book a discovery call.


Book a Discovery Call