US-based pharmaceutical services organisation United BioSource Corporation (UBC) has formed a European Advisory Board for Data Quality in an effort to improve ratings quality and outcomes in clinical trials of central nervous system (CNS) drugs.

As UBC points out, data and outcomes from CNS studies are complicated by their reliance on subjective measurements as pivotal endpoints. The European Advisory Board will collaborate with UBC in researching the latest methodologies for rater training, inter-rater reliability assessments and clinician-rated scales, with a focus on enhancing scoring ability, interviewing competence and diagnostic skills among investigators and other clinicians supporting trials.

The board, which draws together experts in the fields of CNS disorders, psychiatry and neurology from Austria, the UK, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Spain, is led by Dr Oto Markovic, regional manager at UBC’s European regional headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic. Its recommendations will be integrated into UBC’s customised training and validated assessment programmes targeted at investigators and clinical trial personnel.

The issue of ratings quality and clinical outcomes “is critical to the successful development of new CNS drugs”, commented board member Dr Stuart Montgomery, professor emeritus of medicine at Imperial College School of Science and Medicine in London and co-author of the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale. “Focusing on improving these outcomes will hopefully lead to the availability of newer and better treatments for patients.”