Voices about SCRO

Martin Höglund is a senior consultant in the Department of Medical Sciences, Haematology, at Uppsala University Hospital. He has been working with Scandinavian CRO on a three-year study to test a new drug in patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia. This large Dutch-based study involves three centres in Sweden: Uppsala, Karolinska University Hospital and Lund. Uppsala is the principal investigator.

Why did you choose to work with Scandinavian CRO?

We wanted someone good but affordable. We were already familiar with Scandinavian CRO. They had carried out other studies for us and earned a very good reputation. Two other quotations were submitted, but one was rejected on quality grounds. Scandinavian CRO not only met our quality requirements, but was also reasonably priced.

How do you perceive your partnership?

It has gone extremely well and I am very satisfied. CRO has been great to deal with, and easily accessible. Its monitoring reports are always of a very high standard. I also think its involvement in academic studies is very commendable, because these are less profitable than those conducted by the pharmaceutical companies. Quality, accessibility and affordability – these are important to us in academia, and they are what SCRO stands for.

How has the industry changed in recent years?

The regulatory requirements have gradually become tougher, making academic clinical trials harder. There may be a little too much bureaucracy, but rules are rules. It makes you wonder sometimes whether they make much of an improvement. Monitoring requirements have become stricter, too. And of course, most studies are fairly resource-intensive, which is a challenge for hospitals and clinical budgets. However, we want to maintain our independence and be able to do studies unconnected to the drug companies. This is really important to us.

 

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Martin Höglund is a senior consultant in the Department of Medical Sciences, Haematology, at Uppsala University Hospital.

Gunilla Osswald is CEO of BioArctic Neuroscience, which develops antibody-based drugs against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as treatments for patients with complete spinal cord injury.

Why did you choose to work with Scandinavian CRO?

SCRO is a smaller, client-focused and locally based CRO that is ideal for us. The study we are doing together is taking place in the Nordic countries, so it is a good fit between our two companies.

How do you perceive your partnership?

We are really satisfied, and have a very good working relationship, which is something of great concern to me. SCRO is engaged, enthusiastic, meticulous and solution-oriented. Its people are highly expert and experienced. They are also very pleasant to work with. We have also seen proof of its high flexibility, which is a big advantage.

How has the industry changed in recent years?

The number of smaller local suppliers of CRO services has been growing. It is good to see more, talented Swedish companies. The number of clinical trials conducted by Swedish companies has been declining for some years, but now seems to be increasing again, which I am delighted about. I think it is a direct result of the various initiatives from a number of sources. It is vital that this is defended on behalf of all clinical players in healthcare, academia, industry, agencies and government.

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Gunilla Osswald, CEO of BioArctic Neuroscience, CEO, BioArctic Neuroscience,

Johanna Sanner is Area manager In-country Clinical Operations GSK, whose responsibilities include Sweden. Clinical Operations GSK Sweden has its own team, but also uses contract staff. GSK Sweden has had a long-term partnership with Scandinavian CRO, which has provided clinical trial managers and trial assistants.

Why did you choose to work with Scandinavian CRO?

It is vital for us to have flexibility and rapid access to experienced and expert people. SCRO, which is a relatively small company, has been able to quickly supply dedicated people with the right expertise, who are driven and who thrive on being consultants. Their personalities have largely been an excellent fit with our own team here at GSK. Cost is another important aspect when choosing a partner, of course.

How do you perceive your partnership?

We are extremely satisfied. SCRO has always been an excellent partner, one that is easy to work with. SCRO takes good care of its people, ensuring their development. It is a basic requirement for people to be happy and feel secure with their employer. SCRO has also been good at understanding what kind of people we need. Furthermore, it has been very responsive as the demands we impose on the people we are looking for have increased lately.

How has the industry changed in recent years?

The big suppliers are increasingly taking over. Having worked with many global companies for several years, GSK too is now going to enter into a partnership with one big, global supplier of contract staff for its local companies. The aims of this strategic decision include harmonization and simplification from a global perspective.
However, there are still excellent opportunities for smaller suppliers, particularly in partnerships with smaller biotech companies and academia.

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Johanna Sanner, Area manager In-country Clinical Operations, GlaxoSmithKline AB

Maria Jansson, who works as Clinical Operation Lead at Boehringer-Ingelheim, is responsible for their clinical research in Sweden. Maria hires staff from Scandinavian CRO to perform clinical studies.

Why did you decide to collaborate with Scandinavian CRO?
We started collaboration in 2015 on the recommendation of a colleague from another pharmaceutical company. This was a great success so we continued to engage SCRO.

What is your experience of the collaboration?
Only positive. They are clear, capable and responsive to our needs as a sponsor.

SCRO continues to train and educate their staff, which leads to a high level of knowledge. I feel that they care very much about their staff. The staff seem to enjoy working at SCRO and many stay for a long time, leading to continuity, stability and security, even for us as a sponsor.

How has the branch changed in recent years?
Healthcare is, of course, under a lot of pressure. Sweden has a good reputation for delivering quality, but there must be time to perform trials. Today, efforts are being made in many directions to increase opportunities for conducting clinical studies in Sweden. One example is the unit for National Coordination of Clinical Studies. The quality aspect of clinical studies is very important and this is something that Sweden is very good at.

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Maria Jansson, Clinical Operation Lead, Boehringer-Ingelheim

Anders Forslund, associate professor and paediatrician at Uppsala University Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden

Why did you decide to collaborate with Scandinavian CRO?
We have been collaborating for quite some time, since 2012. It was easy to connect with SCRO and easy to work together with them so we continued. Collaborating on new studies is very worthwhile now that we know each other so well.

What is your experience of the collaboration?
Very good! The staff at SCRO are knowledgeable, accommodating and always available, and we get the help we need. We often have contact for long periods since pharmaceutical studies are prolonged processes and we can work together in all phases. It’s also good that SCRO is in town so we can meet occasionally. Physical meetings are important.

How has the branch changed in recent years?
It has changed a lot. Drug studies are very expensive. And that makes it difficult for us individual researchers to perform these studies. Today, many studies are financed by pharmaceutical companies. As scientists we, of course, want to get new knowledge. We are driven by learning more about how we can improve treatments for patients, find new patient groups that can get treatment, or to be able to use old drugs in new ways. Previously, we had projects funded by the EU. It was fun, instructive and enlightening, but also a challenge to harmonize between cultures from different countries. Today, we have a coordinated study within the Uppsala Örebro region. We have received funding from the Regional Research Council, but we are also seeking funding from other financiers. We will then study an old well-tested medication on obese children together with SCRO.

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Anders Forslund, associate professor and paediatrician, Uppsala University Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden