US-based contract research organisation (CRO) PPD has added four new practice areas to its consulting services offering: biosimilars, adaptive trial design, regulatory strategy in China, and cardiovascular outcomes studies.

The company has aligned its consulting practice with areas in which clients face significant regulatory and market challenges, it said.

In the “new but quickly evolving” field of biosimilar development, for example, customers can turn to PPD for guidance on selecting appropriate endpoints, designing more efficient clinical trials and developing effective regulatory strategies, the company added.

In adaptive trial design, PPD’s biostatistics and therapeutic area experts can help with the design of approaches that reduce cycle times and facilitate more efficient, less costly development programmes.

The PPD Consulting arm already offers “deep expertise” in regulatory, biostatistics and clinical development consulting across a wide range of product development issues covering all of the major therapeutic areas, including oncology, cardiovascular disease and critical care, neurology and psychiatry, infectious diseases and metabolic diseases, the CRO said.

CenterWatch site survey

The broader PPD business recently had the distinction of being named as the leading CRO for overall relationship quality in CenterWatch’s global survey of clinical research sites.

Among the 1,205 clinical research professionals who completed the survey, run during February and March 2011, 84.3% rated their overall relationship with PPD as “excellent” or “good”.

In the first such CenterWatch survey to poll research sites worldwide, principal investigators, sub-investigators and study co-ordinators were asked to rank CROs they had worked with over the past two years on 29 relationship attributes.

PPD scored among the top three CROs for 25 of the 29 attributes and earned the highest marks of any CRO in a number of categories, including staff professionalism, good protocol design, study initiation, being organised and prepared, and setting realistic project timelines, the company noted.