life sciences industry and support the patients we serve. In April, we spoke with Brandon Early, Vice President for Project Delivery, PRA Health Sciences. Brandon is a drug developer with experience spanning CRO and biotech sectors. He has been with PRA since 2017 where he looks for every opportunity to take PRA’s diverse global expertise and apply it to create value for the biotech sector.
Tell us about your organization, its mission, and current initiatives
PRA Health Sciences is a leading, global contract research organization with a passion for intelligent innovation across all global services. We have operations in over 90 countries and are fortunate to work with clients ranging from Top 10 pharma to small & emerging biopharma. Important for the MassBio community is our deliberate focus on this small/emerging sponsor segment: approximately 50% of the trials we run within our core CRO services are from this small/emerging segment. This is because biotech is our company’s heritage. We have the luxury of combining our global heft with our sponsors’ unique drug development goals to yield custom approaches to each program. Many sponsors are surprised by the breadth of our expertise that begins years before a clinical trial starts and runs years past marketing approval. We’ve let biotech experience run through the whole company, so every team knows how to create these custom solutions for our sponsors.
How does your organization’s activities help patients now and into the future?
We have supported the pivotal trials that led to approvals of over 95 important products currently on the market. We’ve been successful by keeping a keen eye on how patients are treated and what they need from any new treatment. Once we know how/where patients are interacting with medical care, we set to build trials that fit with that care pattern so that clinical research is a true care option for any patient. These approaches vary by indication and therapeutic modality, and our teams are skilled at building from these therapeutic foundations.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the life sciences industry today?
We continue to track the monumental pace of medical innovation. This pace has caused tremendous competition for sites and patients, and sponsors must consider how their products differentiate themselves even during trials, let alone when marketed. These pressures are compounded by the increased ‘digitization’ of trials that was occurring prior to the Covid pandemic but is now at a fever pitch. Sponsors are left to navigate a slew of point solutions addressing a variety of clinical trial pain points without knowing which pain point is actually worthy of investment. Hence the need for truly custom approaches to trials to differentiate, innovate, and deliver patient-centricity.
What’s next for your organization / what are you focused on in the coming year?
On February 24, 2021, we announced that PRA will be acquired by ICON Plc. ICON’s acquisition of PRA will bring together two strong, client-focused companies—creating an organization in the best position to meet market demands. This proactive union of ICON and PRA will provide clients broader service offerings, greater therapeutic depth and geographic coverage, and enhanced clinical and commercial solutions. PRA and ICON’s expertise in biotech will be carried into the new combined organization.
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