Case Study

How to Boost Patient Enrollment in a Global IBD Trial

For one of the largest-ever global IBD trials, we knew our sponsor’s success depended on identifying the right sites and keeping them engaged.

Details:

Therapeutic Area: IBD

Geography: 40 countries

Sites: 400

Patients: 800 (planned)

Current Status:

  • Patient enrollment on schedule
  • PSI is on track to enroll 500 patients by year-end

How to Engage Investigators & Patients in the Highly Competitive IBD Landscape

After a large pharmaceutical company delivered enrollment 60 days ahead of schedule for a Phase 2 inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) study with PSI CRO, the sponsor faced a new challenge: one of the largest-ever IBD programs in the same indication. Competition for IBD patients is fierce, and we knew success depended on not only identifying the right sites but also keeping them engaged throughout the duration.

The sponsor engaged PSI to manage 400 sites and enroll 800 patients across 40 countries. With the length and size of the study, many sites went silent after the initial excitement. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic introduced a whole new set of extraordinary challenges, which was especially noticeable during the summer months – already a typically slow period, but also when many countries implemented additional restrictions to slow the spread of new variants that made enrollment even more difficult.

To re-energize the study team and keep enrollment on track, the sponsor introduced a new incentive campaign with PSI modeled after the Summer Olympics to foster a sense of friendly competition.

3 Steps to Empower Your Sites

  1. Create a compelling, inclusive campaign to motivate sites

PSI divided the study teams to stand for their respective countries and introduced the following scoring system:

  • Gold medal: Awarded for every subject randomization
  • Silver medal: Awarded for every subject screening
  • Bronze medal: Awarded for every subject rescreening

The project team developed creative materials and branding to engage the teams during the campaign and made sure that countries of all sizes stayed visible within the competition thanks to an averaged rating system.

  1. Invest time into building close relationships with the site teams

To be truly patient-centric, a CRO needs to first be site-centric. Our mission is to make the site’s life in clinical trials as trouble-free as possible. It’s not easy, because clinical trial protocols are typically overcomplicated by all sorts of requirements that add work to the site staff already exhausted by routine medical practice. That’s why we are focused on building site support processes, working closely with the site staff to prevent and fix any signs of screening and enrollment delays.

PSI works carefully with each investigator to increase the percentage of patients entering the study, providing training and resources so the site teams understand the best moment to screen patients for the study and that screen failure patients could be reassessed. The project team provides extra support to sites and patients with personal protective equipment, implements additional procedures for direct shipment of the drug to patients’ homes, identifies a big network of local labs to minimize trips during the pandemic, and arranges comfortable and safe conditions for patients’ travel or travel reimbursement.

  1. Build on a long-standing partnership

With the same leadership team in place since 2015 for the program, including the same Global PM and Co-Manager from the Phase 2 Study, the PSI teams draw on their experience from previous studies for this client during the competition. PSI Country Managers and Clinical Operations colleagues are also engaged to help the project teams come together to meet a common goal. It’s great to have a stable global team on such a complex project.

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Strategies for Expediting Study Startup in Australia With Barrie Koh

Did you know that Phase 2 and 3 study startup times in Australia can be expedited with the right site relationships? In order to accelerate the first patient in, PSI engages private sites and medical centers to ensure an average startup timeline of only five months. Learn more about study startup in Australia with Barrie Koh, Country Manager.

Around the world, PSI CRO is working to ensure studies deliver on time and on budget. Find the nearest office to you and start a conversation.

Transcript:

Hi, I’m Barrie. Did you know that Australia is quick to start up?

Everyone in the industry knows that it is easy to get an approval for an early-phase study in Australia. It is supported by streamlined regulatory processes, and you just need fewer documents for submissions. What most don’t realize is that startup in Phase 2 and Phase 3 isn’t that different.

The challenge is that most clients have a habit of going back to the same key opinion leaders or the huge institutions. they have lots of studies and they are heavily bureaucratic. To get to the first patient in quickly, PSI has been engaging the private sites, which are much more agile, only working with four to five huge private medical centers and a dozen more smaller sites.

With this particular approach, five months is feasible and it is consistent across all phases, all therapeutic areas and drugs classes. To cite you an example, in a recent microbiome study, we actually managed to achieve the first patient in in five and a half months at a private site down in Sunshine Coast. And this came in two weeks ahead of our planned first patient in.

Another example is a gene therapy study that we’re currently running. We were the first CRO to apply for a gene therapy license (in Australia). So we actually worked with each other to try to move this forward and this was done under four months itself and ever since then, we’ve completed four more gene therapy studies.

How to Apply for Phase 1 and Phase 3 Studies in China at the Same Time With Lisa Lu

Did you know you may be able to run Phase 1 and Phase 3 studies in China in parallel, particularly for urgent medical needs?

Hear Lisa Lu, PSI CRO’s Country Manager in China, discuss how to determine if your study may qualify and how PSI’s local experts can help.

Around the world, PSI CRO is working to ensure studies deliver on time and on budget. Find the nearest office to you and start a conversation.

Transcript:

Hello, my name is Lisa Lu. I’m the country manager for PSI in China and I’m located in Shanghai. Let me share with you some relevant aspects for running clinical trials in China.

Did you know that for new drugs coming to China, it is needed to conduct a PK study in a Chinese population locally? One can apply for an IND for Phase 1 and Phase 3 studies at the same time.

Based on NMPA’s feedback, you can potentially run Phase 1 and Phase 3 studies in parallel. Urgent medical needs like hematology studies, and lethal diseases without any drugs available at the moment, have a higher chance in running Phase 1 and 3 studies at the same time.

Usually, a PK study needs 20 to 30 healthy volunteer subjects or patients, depending on the different indication and medicine.

How Do India Study Startup Timelines Compare? With Radhika Bobba

How did we achieve site activation for a radiopharmaceutical study in India in less than 5 months? It turns out India study startup timelines are faster than many European countries.

Learn more in this video with Radhika Bobba, PSI CRO’s Regional Director, India and Far East Country Management.

Around the world, PSI CRO is working to ensure studies deliver on time and on budget. Find the nearest office to you and start a conversation.

Transcript:

India startup timelines are always discussed. “India is so slow, it’s so difficult to set up a study, it’s so difficult to start a study.” Let me give you a recent example.

We submitted a dossier for a radiopharmaceutical molecule in oncology on the 3rd of August, 2021. We received approval for this particular dossier on the 2nd of December, 2021 from a regulatory authority, the DCGI. It took us five months. The first site was initiated on the 14th of December, 2021, and the same site was activated on the 28th of December, 2021.

5 months, is it so long?

Yes, we are definitely not the fastest. We are definitely not the slowest. We can be compared to other countries in Europe. We can be compared to France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland. We are faster than Romania.

Debunking Latin American Study Startup Myths With Oscar Podesta

Did you know that startup timelines for some countries in Latin America are comparable to those of many in Europe?

Hear from Oscar Podesta, PSI’s Head of Latin America, as he shares insights debunking some of the common myths about startup duration in the region.

Around the world, PSI CRO is working to ensure studies deliver on time and on budget. Find the nearest office to you and start a conversation.

Transcript:

Hi, my name is Oscar Podesta. I’ve been responsible for the Latin American region at PSI for almost 10 years now, and I wanted to briefly address one of the most frequent comments I receive about my countries here that is related to the startup timelines.

I think that these days we can call it a myth around Latin American countries being too slow to get started in clinical research trials, but I do remember those years where this was true—I mean when Latin American countries used to take just too long to get activated, but that’s not the case anymore, and it has not been the case for quite some time already.

These days, if you look only at statutory timelines, we can say that countries like Panama or Chile can be activated in less than six months, which is comparable in line with many countries in Europe. And even looking at bigger countries, like Argentina, for instance, our statutory timelines there are comparable with Germany, actually could be even shorter than the UK.

So, looking at overall just First Site Activated in countries in the region, our timelines are not longer than the rest of the world in general. But I think we have to look at that in more detail. And if we look at the data we have at PSI, our track record and metrics, and we actually look at the average time to activate all sites in a country—not just the first site activated, but all sites—that provides even more interesting information.

At the end of the day, we need all sites activated to make the enrollment for the study, so it is important to have the whole country active. And looking at those data at PSI, we find out that countries like Argentina, Chile, Panama, and Peru are actually shorter than several western European countries.

And let’s take another step into that and look at the bigger countries in the region, like Brazil or Mexico. Brazil right now is hitting more than 200 million people living there. So it’s huge, as everybody knows. And historically, everybody would say, “No, I wouldn’t go with the study to Brazil because it takes too long”—and it’s not the case. It’s not the case.

Right now there are a lot of indications, especially rare diseases, that are branded fast-track review by the authorities in Brazil, and a rare disease study can easily be activated in Brazil, maybe in six months, which puts the country in direct competition to pretty much any country in the world. So, the myth or the statement about Latin American countries being too slow, I don’t think it’s anymore not even fair to say.

Learn How PSI Delivered 10 Global Studies in MS & IBD for a Future Blockbuster Drug

Details

  • THERAPEUTIC AREA: MS & Gastroenterology
  • GEOGRAPHY: 40 countries
  • SITES: 720
  • PATIENTS: 2,600+

Highlights:

  • LPI delivered ahead of schedule by as much as 12 months for one study
  • 2 FDA approvals & 2 EMA approvals to date
  • Low turnover rate of just 15% for key staff

Summary:

A Phase 2/3 study in relapsing multiple sclerosis patients was failing to recruit, so the sponsor, a global pharmaceutical company, engaged PSI to get enrollment back on track.

We delivered Last Patient In (LPI) ahead of schedule – which led to us supporting a number of other studies in the sponsor’s portfolio. We’ve since completed recruitment in five other studies, each with LPI ahead of schedule. Most recently, we rescued enrollment in a global two-study ulcerative colitis pivotal program, delivering LPI a year sooner than expected.

Read our case study to learn how our team built a strong, lasting partnership with the sponsor to help deliver results. For more information on how we can help deliver your pivotal Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials on time, contact us here.

Complete Enrollment of IBD Studies on or Ahead of Time

The number of IBD trials initiated per year grows every year, meaning competition for sites and patients alike. To make sure one of our longtime clients’ IBD studies stood out, we drew on our database of more than 2,800 sites in 40+ countries to find the geo-mix that worked for them—and fast. (And they’re not our only repeat clients: about 95% of our business is repeat and referral.)

Global IBD Clinical Trials Sites

To help engage sites for an IBD study in an increasingly competitive landscape, we put together a 3-step early engagement campaign, including investigator letters, 1-to-1 calls, and webinars. Within four weeks, we’d collected 170 CDAs and 150 completed e-questionnaires from 20 countries. Building great relationships isn’t easy, but at PSI, we think it’s worth it.

Case Study Breakdown

With the combined efforts of our feasibility, site identification, and startup teams, we were able to complete enrollment two months ahead of schedule in a highly competitive indication—and with 40 more subjects randomized than planned. In today’s crowded IBD clinical trials landscape, surprise yourself. Contact us to learn how PSI CRO can deliver your next IBD trial on time.

Enrolling IBD Quickly Graph

Case Study: Cutting Startup Timelines in Half on a Global HemOnc Study

The world is changing rapidly, but some things are as stable as ever—like our preoccupation with growing a network of productive study sites across oncology and hemonc indications.

Each dot is so much more than just a data point: it’s PIs and site staff showing up and supporting our studies every step of the way, from planning to execution, all around the world. We couldn’t do it without them.

Picture this: you need to enroll a 900-patient hemonc study on a tight timeline. You want a CRO that’s absolutely obsessed with getting it right. And that’s how we did it here. 

Finding the right sites and completing site identification for such an extensive study in half the time was only possible through the dedication and perseverance of our feasibility, site identification, and startup teams. They’re the backbone of making projects like this happen, working alongside our global sites supporting the study startup process to ensure we avoid costly delays—even amidst an ongoing global pandemic.

“When the pandemic first arose, PSI quickly set up a COVID task force that included tracking the ongoing status of all our sites,” said Diana Fowler, Head of Study Startup:

“We knew which sites were open to recruitment and onsite visits, which were allowing remote monitoring visits, and which were completely shut down. With a planned first site activation date of April 2021 for this study, we worked closely with sites to understand how the pandemic affected their ability to meet the planned dates. We also offered them several technical options that allowed us to conduct site selection visits remotely.”

In addition, the regulatory activities were closely monitored to ensure that no time was lost between receipt of approval from one agency to the submission of the next.  With this close oversight, PSI not only managed to meet first site activated as planned but, within six business days, also activated a total of four sites in two countries.

We’re grateful for recognition, and we appreciate our sites, our employees, and our vendors, for the dedication and support they give us, day in and day out.

In the end, it’s all about how patient enrollment pushes forward—actual vs. planned. The story begins with startup. Every day we can save on site identification and startup activities brings patients that much closer to potential treatment. One patient at a time, we’re here to add predictability to your enrollment timelines, no matter what.

#EveryPatientCounts is your vaccine against uncertainty.