With big pharma and biotechcompanies looking to cut costs and optimize their spending, the methods used in outsourcing partner selection are more relevant to the industry than ever before. Data derived from the input of executives responding to Nice Insight’s Q3 Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Outsourcing survey indicates that companies will outsource an average of 4.38 services in the coming year. The top-rated method employed in selecting contract research and manufacturing partners is hiring consultants (73% reported that they do this). Use of referrals (55%) and attendance at trade show events (44%) were second and third respectively.
The use of online searches/directories as a short-listing method ranked at the below the aforementioned in the list reported screening methods– a fact likely due to many pharma and biotech companies remaining somewhat skeptical of the credibility of online search tools. However, this reported perception appears to contrast the prevalence of industry-specific groups on websites such as LinkedIn, which focus on creating a message board-like search-and-discover approach to partnership opportunities. These groups are useful for conveying capabilities and contact details, but since the information often derives from CROs and CMOs directly, there is little in the way of unbiased assessments.
Additionally, information provided on websites is often vague and poorly delivered. In this respect, Nice Insight itself provides a more tangible solution. Quarterly data is derived from thousands of pharma and biotech executives in outsourcing-facing roles, and is analyzed and organized to give unbiased intelligence on 300+ CROs and CMOs, including customer awareness (CA) and customer perception (CP) scores relative to the market. Not only does this provide this group with insight into their performance relative to peers – and thus the opportunity to improve, it is equally an invaluable tool in helping Big Pharma and biotech companies to screen and select prospective partners. Beyond awareness and perception data, peripheral features available to users of Nice Insight continue to be enhanced. Survey data indicated the perceived value in attending trade shows as a well-established and popular means of evaluating and connecting with prospective partners. Therefore, Nice Insight recently introduced a lead generation tool that helps CROs and CMOs to connect with pharma and biotech executives that have indicated that they are seeking outsourcing partners. These individuals are not included in the panel of executives that provide feedback to our quarterly research in the CRO/CMO report.
For Q4 2011, Nice Insight will also offer a Trade Show Tracker feature for CROs and CMOs featured in its company index. This will offer a comprehensive list of shows that each company is attending in 2012, including booth numbers, which will help users to plan their trade show-based screening for the year much more effectively, as well as being another facet in the objective to connect both groups more effectively. When it comes to online tools for CRO / CMO selection, it is important to realize that they are not meant to replace the human element in consultancy and referrals, or the traditional value of trade shows. Good screening tools should be regarded as a valuable first step in the vetting process that can distill key information and narrow down potential partners, thereby optimizing the other methods employed and reducing costs.