Almost one in five clinical trials recruit only a single patient. How can the industry tackle this issue?

Date: 03. 01. 2023

Before heading to SCOPE 2023 this month, we released our latest analysis investigating enrollment data from 173 cancer clinical trials over the last three years. Our analysis uncovered chronic challenges in clinical development, finding that 2,298 of 11,826 investigator sites (nearly one in five) have only enrolled a single patient.

The impact of poorly performing sites on cost was substantial. Our data shows that a single-patient site has an average cost-per-patient that is ten times higher than a better performing site. Our analysis also revealed a huge disparity between sites across the board; almost one fifth of trial sites contribute just 3% of patients. At the other end of the spectrum, a small proportion (16%) of better performing trial sites contribute almost half of patients.

While at SCOPE, we witnessed a renewed interest from large pharmaceutical companies in investigator site enrolment performance. Our analysis provoked some important conversations at the event. The data highlights the practical implications of single patients on operational costs and cycle times and underscores an urgent need for the industry to act now to address these issues.

How can we begin to do this? First, companies must take a more data-driven approach. With predictive analytics and accurate scenario modelling, clinical trial sponsors can look at ‘what if?’ scenarios. These can be used to select and profile the highest performing recruiting countries and sites for an indication and maximize recruitment.

With Phesi’s Trial Accelerator, sponsors can leverage the world’s most comprehensive clinical trial database to simulate trial outcomes and predict patient outcomes. This enables study teams to design smarter trials and deliver faster cures. With Phesi’s data-led approach, sponsors have been able to reduce their single patient sites to under 10%.

There is still much work to be done to minimize poorly performing sites, and we are committed to helping the clinical trials industry overcome this hurdle.

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