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L.E.K. Consulting's Matt Wheeler Presented on Global Clinical Outsourcing Trends at COG New England 2024

On April 23, 2024, Matt Wheeler, Managing Director and Partner at L.E.K. Consulting, delivered a thought-provoking presentation on the current market context and future outlook for global clinical outsourcing at the COG New England meeting. Matt, who leads L.E.K.'s Pharmaceutical Services Practice out of Boston, shared his insights on the key trends shaping the clinical environment and their implications for sponsors and vendors alike.

During his session, Matt highlighted several underlying factors driving the clinical outsourcing macroenvironment, including therapeutic area focus, the funding landscape, R&D expenditure and complexity, biotech and biopharma valuations, and the impending patent cliff. He noted that U.S. drug revenue is expected to reach approximately $1 trillion by 2028, with large molecule therapies capturing an increasing share of the market.

Matt also discussed the improving biotech market sentiment, indicating greater investor confidence, and the recovery of R&D funding post-pandemic. He emphasised the importance of upcoming loss of exclusivity for blockbuster drugs, which will require pharmaceutical companies to innovate, thereby spurring R&D outlook. As trial complexity continues to increase, Matt stressed the need for enhanced capabilities and adaptability in trial management.

Looking ahead, Matt identified five key areas where pharma sponsors are seeking innovative solutions from their partners: flexible partnership models, a renewed focus on clinical research sites, advanced tools for patient engagement, continued digitisation of clinical trials, and enhanced usage of data and analytics. He advised vendors to diversify their outsourcing arrangements and urged sponsors to leverage strategic partnerships to balance insourcing and outsourcing spend through hybrid models.

Additionally, highlighting the importance of patient-centricity, emphasising that it goes beyond mere patient identification. He stressed the need for vendors to possess specialised expertise to meet specific patient recruitment needs and for sponsors to have a deep understanding of the patient journey to determine the best-fit solutions for accelerating clinical trials.

As the industry embraces technological advancements, Matt discussed the potential impact of generative AI on clinical trials. He encouraged sponsors and vendors to collaborate in assessing their capabilities and identifying functions across the R&D value chain that would most benefit from generative AI solutions.


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