You have done the research and selected a CRO that looks like it can meet all your research needs. Now you are about to entrust your precious samples to people you may barely know. How do you safeguard your research and develop a productive relationship with your CRO?
Ponder these 5 P’s to get the most out of this unique scientific partnership:
Selecting the right CRO takes time and due diligence. You should spend time researching what kind of CROs offer the services you need. Talk to someone at a prospective CRO about their services, expertise, turnaround times, and fees. It's also worth requesting the references of other customers who have used these CROs so you can contact them in person and get a better insight into the customer experience.
Communication is the bedrock of a successful relationship with a CRO and this begins when you explain what assays you need to be performed. Can they do these assays or do they need time for development? Can the CRO meet all the regulatory criteria in your protocol? Are you going to need samples assayed every two weeks over a several month period, or are you going to hand over several hundred samples in six months and require a quick turnaround? Details matter so no one is confused, frustrated or disappointed.
Point of Contact.
You will be exchanging large amounts of information with the CRO, and this two-way relationship is most successful when you have an open line of communication with a person responsible for managing your project within the CRO. Make sure you are comfortable working with this person and invest time in building this relationship.
Pick a Time and Problem Solve.
You should schedule a regular meeting time with the CRO team to discuss progress, look at data, and troubleshoot issues that may arise. This type of meeting may happen in person, by web conference, or over the phone. Regular meetings help keep everyone in the loop and prevent problems from languishing for weeks.
Good CROs invest significant capital and time into building high quality operations staffed with experienced scientists and technicians and run under the strictest standards. CROs can only continue offering their superior services if the research community and pharmaceutical industry supports them. If you have a great experience with your CRO, spread the word, and give credit where credit is due.
Follow this prescription for a happy scientist-CRO relationship!