Having a steady stream of clinical trials is essential for a research site to run a successful operation.  Many independently owned sites have been operating for decades and have strong and well-developed relationships with Sponsors and CROs.  Other sites are newer and are still not well known or widely recognized within the industry.  For all sites working with an experienced clinical research network can be very beneficial.

A clinical research network is a company that helps bring study opportunities to sites and charges them a fee for this service.  Some networks only bring studies while others like MplusM Research Network offer more in-depth services including budgeting and contract negotiations, quality control and diversity plans.  Working with the right network that best suits your needs is essential to bring new quality studies to your site.


What are the advantages of working with a clinical research network?

An experienced clinical research network will have well established relationships with all major Sponsors and CROs and will be able to offer you studies that your site might not be aware of or had not been considered by Sponsors or CROs.  This translates into many more study opportunities for your site and be financially beneficial for your business.

Site networks like MplusM Research Network offer many more services than a traditional network that only brings studies.  One of the key services is the ability to negotiate budgets and CTAs on behalf of your site.  Since a large network has several sites working with it, it will be able to negotiate more attractive study budgets than if your site negotiates alone.  Negotiating with a Sponsor or CRO as part of a large network will allow your site to leverage the network’s size and scope and obtain better conditions for you.

An experienced network can also help your site with additional services like quality control standards such as having integrated Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the whole network and also help with site diversity plans.  As diversity becomes critical to the industry and the FDA, having a solid diversity plan is essential to ensure diversity enrollment targets are met.  MplusM Research Network is a diversity focused network that can help you meet your diversity targets with services such as remote Spanish speaking Clinical Research Coordinators.

For a Sponsor or CRO the advantages of working with a clinical research network are also very beneficial.  Instead of negotiating CTAs and budgets with several individual sites, they will be able to negotiate one budget and one contract with a single point of contact for the whole network.  This will help speed up their workflows and processes and lead to faster start-ups.

Another important advantage of working with a network like MplusM Research Network is a guaranteed quick turnaround time for proposing sites, sending Feasibility Questionnaires (FQs) and negotiating CTAs and budgets.  MplusM has a guaranteed 48-hour turnaround timeline for FQs for example.  This ensures that trials get started sooner and the start-up process is more efficient.

Sites that operate under a network framework have been vetted and are much more likely to produce the quality results and data that are essential for successful clinical trials.  Since they are assessed regularly with solid quality control standards, they will be able to perform higher quality studies than sites that are not well known.

 

What are the disadvantages of working with a clinical research network?

For some sites the main disadvantage of working with a research network is the fees involved.  Some networks charge a monthly membership fee and in return receive a fixed number of study leads every month.  This structure is more common with broker type networks that only provide study leads and leave everything else up to the site.

 

Other networks like MplusM Research Network charge a commission per study that is awarded.  This commission varies between networks but is usually between 8% to as high as 20% of the study value.  This fees under this structure may seem high to some sites but it is also advantageous in the sense that unless the study is awarded, no fee is paid to the network.  In MplusM Research Network’s case, the commission paid is usually offset by the increased budgets that they will negotiate on behalf of the site.

In commission-based structures sites are also offered more services like budget and negotiation on behalf of the site as well as payment management.  Some sites prefer to be in control of these items, but after working with a network they see the value-added benefits.  These include more attractive budgets and a steady pipeline of studies.

In conclusion, a research network can be very beneficial for both sites and Sponsors and CROs.  For sites a steady stream of studies, the possibility of negotiating better budgets and contracts, and added services such as quality control standards and diversity plans can be an important asset.  Likewise, for Sponsors and CROs the ability to negotiate one budget and one contract for several sites with one point of contact, and the ability to greatly reduce timelines is also a tremendous value proposition.