Celebrating ACRO’s 20th Anniversary

A Survey of ACRO Member Companies Shows How Risk-Based Approaches Are Used in Clinical Trials

Formed in 2001, the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) represents clinical research and technology companies that support a majority of clinical trials around the world, contributing to the development of new drugs and treatments for patients everywhere. In March 2022, ACRO members gathered in the nation’s capital to commemorate the 20th anniversary founding of the association and reflect on 20 years of progress. Below, the five narratives highlight ACRO’s evolution, our achievements, and the exciting opportunities that lay ahead.

20 Years of Innovation

The evolving role of CROs and technology companies.

Over the course of the last 20 years, the role and contributions of clinical research organizations and technology companies have evolved significantly. Once the “arms and legs” of pharmaceutical manufacturers, our members have evolved into partners and innovators that have democratized the clinical trial process, ensuring every stakeholder has a seat at the table. This evolution of our community has also elevated ACRO’s influence – and visibility – with lawmakers, contributing to landmark legislative achievements such as the 21st Century Cures Act.

Meeting the COVID challenge

Despite the historic social and operational limitations imposed by the pandemic, clinical research and technology organizations played a key role in supporting the successful completion of crucial clinical trials, delivering an arsenal of medical breakthroughs – including COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics — that helped to mitigate some of the impact of the pandemic. Throughout the course of the crisis, the achievements of our industry have also increased awareness about the value and purpose of clinical trials among the general population, allowing discussion about the significance of clinical trial processes to enter the mainstream.

Delivering Key Therapeutic Advances

A key achievement of CROs and technology companies was– and continues to be – the successful delivery of new and potentially life-saving therapies to market. Over the last two decades, clinical research organizations and technology companies have supported key therapeutic advancements in critical areas such as oncology, cardiology, gene therapy, HIV/AIDS, and COVID-19. Our community has also led efforts to improve the speed, efficiency, and quality of clinical development by optimizing data collection and analysis through innovative methodologies such as cognitive platforms, remote monitoring, and decentralized clinical trials (DCTs).

Promoting Patient-Centered Clinical Trials & Enrollment Diversity

Over the last two decades, CROs and technology companies have been part of the recalibration of the development paradigm towards a patient-focused orientation. By collaborating with patients in terms of trial design, access, and enrollment diversity, our community has made patients an increasingly important part of trial development. This patient-centric orientation has also improved how data is collected, integrated, and analyzed—ensuring that clinical analyses are more comprehensive and holistic.

Looking Ahead

The roles, impacts, and innovations of clinical research and technology organizations present new and exciting opportunities in the years and decades ahead. From new cognitive platforms to the confluence of clinical research and clinical care, the road ahead promises new innovations that will continue to push the boundaries of medical research.

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