6 Trends Every Clinical Research Professional Should Know

6 Trends Every Clinical Research Professional Should Know

What industry trends can clinical research professionals expect in 2017 and beyond?

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) continue to disrupt the sector, especially with respect to big pharmaceutical companies. These disruptions open up many new opportunities for candidates in growing areas such as personalized medicine.

This ongoing wave of M&A, as well as a number of other industrywide developments, will have a personal impact on clinical research candidates—both those who are currently employed and those who are looking for their next position.

1.Concentrations of contract research organizations (CROs) 
The already strong trend of outsourcing clinical research to CROs will continue to become more prevalent in many life science companies. Because CROs already have specialized talent at their disposal and processes in place that are in compliance with regulatory guidelines, they offer pharmaceutical companies the ability to quickly initiate studies without having to ramp up their workforce or redirect focus away from their core competencies. 

2. Patient-centric models 
The immense increase in personalized data recording, transmission, and analysis, combined with the fact that patients are more informed and connected than ever has prompted a distinct shift toward patient-centric models. This means that the information flow in studies, trials, and treatment plans is initiated by the patient—many times by way of wearable technologies. As a result, professionals will be handling more patient-specific data and combining it with big data to create effective, personalized treatment plans.

3. Clinical research talent hubs 
In recent years, there’s been an emergence of hubs of clinical research professionals close to the pharmaceutical development centers in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, the Pacific Coast, and the Central Midwest. This is a logical development since many professionals prefer to be close to where the work is. However, talent clusters can sometimes mean the competition for jobs in those areas is stronger than usual. Professionals will need to distinguish themselves by their achievements, as well as maintain strong networks, in order to get the jobs they want. Clinical research professionals often enjoy remote work options but it’s always good to know where work is concentrated. Having this insight can help you plan for your long-term career success.

4. Increased process efficiency with apps 
A growing number of apps are streamlining processes ranging from data analytics and pipeline analysis to risk assessment and multi-location study management. These apps can be customized to a clinical trial, department, or other variable, which results in improved efficiency, and as a result, reduced costs. In addition, large number of life sciences companies are using tailor-made applications to improve their HR processes. Consequently, there’s an increased demand for IT professionals with a background in life sciences to design, implement, and manage all of these apps. 

5. Virtual workers 
Many clinical research professionals have the luxury of working virtually. New and improved computer applications enable virtual research and development, as well as remote data management, analysis, and integration. As a result, there are more and more teams that consist entirely of virtual workers who interact by means of a company’s intranet, online technology, and collaboration apps This means that clinical professionals generally enjoy a good worklife balance; but it also means that they need strong technical skills and self-management abilities in order to succeed.

6. Biosimilars 
Another notable trend is the continual rise of biosimilars. Biosimilar is a biologic medical product, which is almost an identical copy of an original but manufactured by a different company. Biosimilars are approved versions of original “innovator” products, and can be manufactured when the original product’s patent expires. For example, in 2015, Zarxio® was the first biosimilar approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the first to launch in the U.S. There have been many more biosimilars in the approval pipeline for clinical trials since then. With a shorter process and less regulation, biosimilars will remain an important trend to watch for clinical research professionals in the foreseeable future. We hope this concise overview of trends impacting the clinical research market is useful to you on the job or when considering a career move. And remember: our recruiters always welcome the opportunity to have a conversation about how they can help you reach your career objectives.