12:00 AM
Jun 10, 2013
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Radical repair

Merck Serono, Quintiles team up to reduce time, cost of Phase I-IV trials

To lift itself from the bottom quartile of clinical trial performance, Merck Serono S.A. is harnessing the expertise of CRO Quintiles Transnational Corp. A five-year exclusive deal will bring Quintiles staff to the table from clinical strategy through execution and make the CRO responsible for helping avoid expensive delays routinely caused by problems like poor enrollment.

If the new model performs as intended, Merck Serono should be able to conduct trials faster and more successfully, without spending more money to do it.

When Annalisa Jenkins joined Merck Serono in September 2011 as global head of development and medical, the specialty biopharma company had been performing poorly on key clinical trial benchmarks.

Following a nine-month review of R&D, Jenkins presented data to investors in May 2012 showing Merck Serono's cost of Phase III trials was 90% higher than a composite industry benchmark, the cycle time from preclinical development to launch was 45% longer, and the probability of success was 33% lower. The figures were based on data from CMR International for 2006-11.

Jenkins also outlined a plan to reorganize and improve the efficiency of the late-stage R&D group, including reducing headcount, consolidating research hubs and introducing leaner ways of working.

Parent Merck KGaA had already embarked on a cost-cutting program that included undisclosed headcount reductions across all businesses and functional areas (see BioCentury, March...

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