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Survey Uncovers Global Challenges and Opportunities in Drug Development

A recent survey of biotech and biopharma leaders highlights key barriers and possibilities drug developers share in accelerating clinical trials.

The PPD clinical research business of Thermo Fisher Scientific has surveyed more than 150 drug developers around the globe to gather annual data on trends in pharmaceutical research and development. Now in its second year, the survey enables detailed directional insights and industry changes compared to the findings of the 2022 report.

Respondents shared sentiments about current challenges within their organizations and the broader industry. While some of the top pain points that companies named in 2022 have persisted, novel clinical trial approaches and emerging technologies have altered drug development companies’ predictions for the most influential industry trends.

The top reported challenges include:

  • 55% of respondents name patient recruitment, including patient retention and population diversity, as their company’s primary challenge. One respondent shared that clinical studies are becoming larger, longer and more complex, leading to increased competition for study centers and individual patients.
  • The increasing complexity of clinical trials followed as the second-most reported challenge, notably in the United States/Canada and Europe. Directors, compared to vice president or C-suite respondents, were more likely to report trial complexity as the top challenge.
  • Talent shortages, difficulty maximizing asset value and lack of funding — particularly for smaller sponsors — rounded out the list of top reported challenges.

Amid the challenges, drug developers also noted several opportunity areas driving transformation:

  • The most significant proportion (53%) of survey participants consider innovative trial design the most notable opportunity area and a top transformation-driving trend.
  • Applying artificial intelligence (AI) to drug development (e.g., mRNA, drug discovery platforms) ranked as the No. 2 growth trend for the first time, with 41% of respondents reporting it as an essential prospect.
  • Greater use of real-world data/real-world evidence, patient centricity and personalized/precision medicine completed the list of the top 5 trends for increased transformation.

Biopharma and biotech companies can overcome these common challenges by partnering with a clinical research organization that integrates data usage, leverages new technologies and embraces innovative approaches to advance clinical trials and quickly bring therapies to market.

Get deeper insights into our findings about trends shaping the industry.

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