Before you request bids from contract research organizations (CROs) for clinical trial services, it’s important to spend time planning your request for proposal (RFP) process. It’s easy to neglect this planning step, especially since the other deadlines and pressures of the drug development and/or research process often take precedence. However, even the smallest amount of planning prior to the RFP process can reduce the amount of time you spend reviewing proposals and increase your ability to request clarifications from participating CROs.
Here are some things to consider prior to the RFP process for clinical trial services:
1. Give the CROs at least 5-10 days to provide a bid. Plan ahead so that you can do this. The more time allowed for CROs to respond, the more complete and thoughtful the responses will be.
2. Determine a timeline for the RFP process, including:
- Due date for questions about the RFP from CROs.
- Due date for your responses to the CRO questions.
- Due date for responses to your RFP.
- Date for the completion of your review of all CRO responses.
- Dates for bid defenses for all contending CROs.
- Date for final decision on selected CRO.
3. Determine selection criteria and provide that information to the CROs. For example, “The CRO will be selected based on responses to this RFP and the following criteria:
- Quality of the response to RFP, including the quality of comments and suggestions.
- Experiences/skill level of company representatives assigned to this project.
- Quality and applicability of proposal presentations at bid defense meeting.
- Demonstrated understanding of the indication.
- Well-developed strategies for avoiding or effectively managing common drug development and clinical trial hurdles.
- Value for the cost of service proposed.