US-based contract research organisation (CRO) Quintiles Transnational has started its 300th clinical trial managed with the help of electronic data capture (EDC) technology.

The milestone study is being conducted with Pacgen Biopharmaceuticals, a Canadian company with an anti-infective, PAC-113, in Phase II development for the treatment of oral candidiasis.

Quintiles started using EDC in 1999 and has seen growing acceptance of the technology since then, with more than 94 EDC trials launched last year.

“At Quintiles, EDC is quickly surpassing paper in the collection of clinical trial data as customers are placing increased value on our ability to give them expert guidance in the appropriate use of this technology, as well as the potential for savings in time and cost,” commented Paula Brown Stafford, executive vice-president, global data management and biostatistics. "We have been able to demonstrate for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries that EDC, when used properly, can make much better use of available resources.”

Brown Stafford is also on the board of directors of the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), a US-based body that aims to develop and support global, platform-independent data standards enabling inoperability of information systems to improve medical research and related areas of healthcare.

According to Quintiles’ US rival Kendle, worldwide revenues from eClinical trials are forecast to reach around $700 million by 2012, compared with just over US$200 million in 2005 and nearly $300 million in 2007.

In a CRO survey by Jefferies in March 2007, vendor relationships, EDC and functional outsourcing (in that order) were identified as the top three strategies for improving research and development productivity/efficiency in the pharmaceutical market.