With pressure building to maximise the efficiency of drug discovery and development, the global market for eClinical trial technologies such as electronic data capture (EDC) or clinical trial management systems (CTMS) could be worth US$1.37 billion by 2018, a new report predicts.

Also driving growth in the market are the increasing globalisation of clinical trials, the wide range of benefits associated with e-clinical technologies, and continuing technological advances in the field of clinical-trial management solutions, note researchers from Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

For example, with offshoring of studies to more cost-efficient markets continuing apace, the fastest-growing region for eClinical trial technologies in the years to 2018 is expected to be the Rest of the World, including the Asia-Pacific countries, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

These territories combined are forecast to show a compound annual growth rate of 16.6% over the analysis period, according to E-Clinical Trial Technologies: A Global Strategic Business Report.

Real-time analysis

As the researchers point out, eClinical trial technologies enable real-time data analysis and can speed up go/no go decisions, reducing project times and costs, enhancing the quality of clinical data and generally optimising the drug development process for faster market entry.

In terms of specific technologies, EDC usage has been rising worldwide over recent years but user satisfaction “remains a concern”, as many adopters believe taking on EDC leads to a heavier workload, Global Industry Analysts suggests.

“Going forwards, satisfaction and usage levels are expected to improve given the wider advantages of implementing EDC such as system response speed, various data-entry resources, availability of support and cross-system standardisation,” it adds.

Comprehensive solutions

CTMS vendors have been successful in developing comprehensive solutions, including systems that allow several trials to be managed simultaneously, the researchers observe.

Some major vendors offer integrated solutions with the potential to bring together information from other solutions such as CDMS (Clinical Data Management Systems) and IVRS (Interactive Voice Response Systems).

One new problem arising with the growing adoption of eClinical trial technologies is the use of multiple distinct solutions, so that clinical sites, contract research organisations and trial sponsors may depend on divergent applications to arrive at harmonised study data.

Clear case

This dilemma is a “clear case” for integrating EDC with electronic Patient Reported Outcomes (ePRO), minimising delays and allowing for substantial cost savings, the researchers argue. Integration also has advantages further down the line.

“Data managers, for instance, benefit from real-time transfer of data from ePRO onto the Case Report Forms (and real-time checking of inconsistencies in the data generated,” the researchers comment. “Statisticians, meanwhile, benefit from generation of statistical reports in a shorter period of time with minimal risk of data errors.”