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Clinical knowledge deficits to slow biotech development, warns Europital

8 Feb 2021

The CRO predicts investment communities will come to the rescue of small and medium companies looking to advance their candidates

A clinical knowledge deficit among smaller biotechs could slow drug trials in 2021, the newly formed Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of contract research organisation, Europital, has warned.

Chief Medical Officer of Europital, Dr Mohamed El Malt, said that during the next few years, small and medium pharma and biotech companies will find accessing appropriate and high-quality knowledge to advance candidates challenging.

Because the drug discovery pipeline is increasingly made up of smaller and more nimble innovators with limited clinical experience in-house, the "low-hanging fruit" has already been developed, leaving the more complex molecules and biologics.

Europital predicts that investment communities — backing many early-stage development programmes — will look holistically at biotechs and their partners to ensure that deep therapeutic expertise is available.

This forensic approach will ensure expeditated development timelines and will de-risk projects, especially as the business and investment model is to prove safety and efficacy for their drug candidates in Phase I and II clinical trials before seeking a sale or further rounds.

“It’s no secret that unlike the larger pharma companies, which can pull in the best resources from the largest CROs, smaller companies must increasingly compete to ensure they can access the best clinical knowledge, as this can be the difference between delays due to poor trial management and planning, and even, a project’s potential success or failure,” added Dr El Malt.

Europital created the SAB, which comprises a group of clinical key opinion leaders and specialised industry experts, to address many of the more complex targets and biologies that now proliferate in the drug discovery pipeline.

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