Pharma R&D Turn to Lean Business Process Outsourcing Models

As pharma companies increase their use of outsourcing in 2015 to reduce costs and improve quality, they are turning to “lean” business process outsourcing models. According to a new study by consulting firm Avoca Group, pharmaceutical and biotechnology research and development (R&D) companies are looking for business process outsourcing models that reduce their investment in internal contract research organization (CRO) oversight. 

Avoca Group senior consultant Denise Calaprice-Whitty said that many companies are opting for lean outsourcing in 2015 to reduce costs. Calaprice-Whitty added that most companies that use the models are successful. However, the report showed that sponsors do not simply outsource to any provider without first establishing a positive working relationship with the CRO.

“The sponsor companies involved in this research did not typically move into full-service lean outsourcing without having had years of positive experience with a given CRO in a more “traditional” outsourcing model prior to the transition,” said the report.

Companies that formed successful “lean” outsourcing partnerships also considered decisions such as what core competencies to keep in house, type of trials to be outsourced, best practices and tools, functional vs. full-service agreements, and number and type of CROs, among others.

Besides product development, protocol development is another area shifting towards the lean model, as CROs were thought to assume greater ownership and have the expertise to perform the function efficiently.