The Financial Times' article "Fears over a medical gold rush in cancer drug race" highlighted an unintended theme - the increasing difficulty of finding participants for the almost 800 trials under way. CROs are becomingly increasingly important in this area due to their ability to recruit and screen suitable candidates to complete trials successfully. Big pushes into new drug areas like this can only be good news for businesses like Quotient Clinical, which featured in the Catalyst Pharma Fast 50 published earlier this year.
Latecomers may find it increasingly difficult to fill their trials with “naive” patients who have not already been treated with a checkpoint. Many will have taken the drugs already, either because they have completed one of the hundreds of existing studies, or because their doctor has prescribed the medicine to them on an “off-label” basis. “The level of pre-treatment and controlling for that is something we want to be cognisant of, because we want to ensure we have a consistent set of baseline patients to evaluate,”... Theoretically, it should not be difficult to recruit participants given that only 4 per cent of cancer patients end up on a trial in the US. But the pharma industry has struggled to widen the pool beyond highly educated people who live in urban centres.