Good communication is key to the success of any relationship, and this is especially true in business. Without effective communication between teams, colleagues can’t share best practices, departments are often unaware of what others are doing, and organizations simply don’t work efficiently.

When it comes to the business of bringing safe and efficacious drugs to market, communication is particularly important. With such a diverse range of people involved in this process, working across various departments, ensuring everyone’s aligned with the project goals is key. From scientists and technicians, through to project leaders, department heads and investors, a tremendous amount of information must be relayed between the key players in the process. Here, poor communication can impact upon project timelines, drive up costs and potentially delay a development program.

For biotechs looking to outsource drug development to contract research organizations (CROs), the providers that they choose will ultimately be an extension of their team. It’s therefore important that the CROs they outsource to are skilled communicators, both with their clients and within their own teams. But how can effective communication be achieved, and what should commercial sponsors look for in a CRO?

What does effective communication in drug development look like?

When outsourcing drug development to a fee-for-service partner, open communication between the program sponsor and the CRO is crucial. After all, to ensure clarity of direction and make the most efficient use of planning time, it’s essential that all parties are on the same page.

For CROs, one of the best ways this can be achieved is by having a dedicated project manager who can act as a one-stop point of contact throughout the program. By consolidating all the information for the different multidisciplinary teams, the project manager ensures the client is always in the know and the best possible development decisions are made.

While effective external communication between the contractor and the client is important, the way in which CROs ensure information flows freely between internal teams is equally, if not more, important. A silo mentality – an organizational mindset characterized by poor inter-departmental sharing of information – can reduce operational efficiency, waste time and resources, and even effect trust between departments and the morale of coworkers.

Of course, no company sets out to create silos, many find they can materialize by stealth. One of the best ways organizations can avoid the development of silos is by putting in place robust frameworks that put integrated working at the heart of all drug development activities. Here, adopting matrix working models and ensuring departmental representation at key project planning meetings can best ensure program success. By adopting these approaches, CROs can better plan for development issues and navigate unexpected challenges more easily.

Other factors to consider when outsourcing drug development

When choosing a CRO to outsource drug development to, ensuring you can establish a successful relationship based on honest, open, two-way communication is essential. However it’s not the only factor you should consider. From their experience and expertise through to their ability to accelerate development timelines, there’s an awful lot else you should take into account.

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