Ensuring clinical trials are carried out to the highest standard while remaining flexible enough to accommodate unexpected changes is a challenge for the industry. Clinical Trials Insight speaks to Rafael Hoebrechts at BARC Global Central Laboratory about how the company's focused approach to project management is improving the efficiency of trials while guaranteeing quality results.
Rafael Hoebrechts: BARC has advanced from using a task-based approach to using an integrated study-patient-treatment approach, meaning that we have become members of the team of healthcare providers that sit together - investigators, study nurses, coordinators, patient treatment specialists and the sponsor - discussing how an individual patient could best benefit from all of the available information.
For a long time, the focus of pharmaceutical development was more on blockbuster drugs: how we get a product on the market that can treat as many patients as possible. Today, the trend is moving towards the development of drugs that are efficient with minimal side effects and can be delivered to precise, targeted, patient populations, taking into account their specific characteristics. That's a key change in healthcare and the way we are developing our services.
BARC is part of Cerba Healthcare, which provides laboratory results to clinical trials, healthcare professionals and academics. With over 30 years of central laboratory experience in clinical trials, the capacity to interpret big data and translate academic laboratory intelligence into daily laboratory practice, BARC acts not only as a service provider but also as a proactive partner in the pharmaceutical drug development process.
BARC closely monitors the changes and trends in drug research programmes, therapies and biomarkers, as well as the general evolution of the healthcare industry. By doing so, we advise our clients on how to optimise and complement their envisaged analytical tests, doing our best to increase the probability that they get the most useful results from their patients' samples.
BARC's advisory role in enhancing drug development is important. If a pharmaceutical company considers initiating a clinical trial, we can inform them about the changes in analytical testing for their specific situation. It might be, for example, that we tell them about new testing models developed by our academic colleagues, which might also better satisfy the evolving needs of the authorities.
I think the most important thing is not just following up with customers, but having continuous communication with them, including with the contacts from our business development colleagues and the data-management teams during the data transfer process. Guiding the communication process among all project stakeholders is one of the most important tasks.
We learn from previous projects and implement that knowledge into future projects to increase efficiency. Our aim is to build project management teams by assigning our project managers to client programmes rather than client projects. By doing this, we create a more efficient and continuous learning process that strengthens the working relationship.
As BARC is a global company working across all regions, we work in an international tandem system. Each lead project manager will work closely with a local project manager based in the region where the trial is happening. They will share all the relevant information. This business model can be adapted to suit different clients' business models.
BARC assigns stable, highly qualified, project management teams for the entire duration of a project or development programme, keeping contact points steady.
BARC's flexibility allows us to meet our clients' expectations. If a change needs to be implemented, all parties are well informed and can adapt to implement the necessary changes. The fact that we recently launched our wholly self-developed and programmable clinical trials management system also helps us tailor our offering to the needs of our clients.
Thanks to our direct links with academic and healthcare environments, and to our involvement in the testing and diagnosis of routine patients, BARC strives not only to provide standard services but to be an essential proactive partner for the complex analytical tests, which become more important in the evolving world of precise and personalised medicine.
The key is our adaptability, which allows us to meet clients' expectations. Necessary changes happen quickly and the required resources can be allocated immediately.