5 Benefits of Faster Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment

One of the most frustrating elements of medical research today is the speed — patients need new treatments now, but often, clinical trials are delayed or closed due to difficulty finding patients to take part. With clinical trial patient recruitment, sponsors can not only meet deadlines, but beat them, bringing new treatments to patients faster. Here, we break down the key reasons to set your sights on accelerating patient recruitment this year. In a world where simply meeting set deadlines would be a welcome change, it can be hard to imagine the benefits of accelerating patient recruitment.

1. Get treatments to patients who need them

Patients everywhere are waiting for treatments that will work better than their current options — or even cure their condition. Faster clinical trial patient recruitment means that the entire drug development process can take place more more quickly. On average, it takes at least ten years for a new medicine to make it to market; more than half of that time (six to seven years) is typically devoted to clinical trials. Shortening that timeline means much needed treatments reach patients faster.

2. Move on more quickly

We know that clinical trials don’t always result in a treatment that makes it to market. A study from BIO noted that the average overall likelihood of FDA approval from Phase 1 was 9.6%, or a 1 in 10 chance, and this rate is even lower in especially complicated disease areas such as oncology. Once a drug has made it to Phase 2, the odds remain low, with less than one-third of investigational medications moving to Phase 3. This is the nature of clinical trials, but the problem is that because it can take so long to find patients for your trials, it can take years to determine that an investigational medicine doesn’t work as anticipated. Faster recruitment can help researchers “fail faster,” which can allow them to move on to developing potential new treatments more quickly.

3. Save on operational cost

Running a clinical trial is a large, expensive undertaking — recruitment is its own challenge, but once patients are recruited into a study there are a host of people and resources involved in ensuring that the study has appropriate sites, that the investigational medication is administered correctly, that patients are followed up with, that data is captured securely, and that all protocols are being followed leading up to the development and submission of an NDA to the FDA. A whitepaper from inVentiv Health estimates that the operational cost of running a trial for one day is $37,000. That means, of course, that when a trial is delayed due to a lack of patients to take part, the sponsor is losing that amount in operational costs every day. 

4. Save on opportunity cost

And then there is the opportunity cost to consider. When a sponsor dedicates resources to a trial that is taking too long, it means other trials or projects that could be more successful are put on hold. It’s difficult to measure the exact impact of this, but research has shown that the opportunity cost of a delayed clinical trial can range from $600,000 to $8,000,000 per day. 

5. Improve sponsor’s reputation

Often, trial sponsors have boards, investors, or shareholders to whom they must report on the progress of their medical research. Accelerating recruitment and saving time on enrollment is one way to ensure that the sponsor retains support for the trial, and even enhances their reputation in the eyes of key stakeholders.

Clinical trial patient recruitment can be difficult, but Antidote can save sponsors an average of four months on patient recruitment.