At the end of 2022 OncoBone received funding from Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) for developing a Virtual CRO concept as a new business model. The project was co-funded by European Regional Development Fund of the European Union. This blog post summarized the outcome of the project and the Virtual CRO concept as a new business concept for OncoBone.
Background of the project
Founders of OncoBone have a long history in working in preclinical CRO business and a good understanding of the business. This expertise has been valuable in working with clients globally since the establishment of OncoBone in 2020.
The idea of the Virtual CRO concept was initiated in discussions with a US-based client who was looking for a partner to coordinate their preclinical studies. They had no experience in how to plan, execute, manage or report results of such studies. OncoBone started the work by providing scientific expertise for the planned studies, but soon it became clear that multiple CRO and other partners were needed to carry out all planned studies. In discussions with the client, it was found easier if OncoBone would have responsibility in managing all the partners, including communicating with and managing all the partners, preparing business agreements and reporting back to the client on a timely manner. These discussions and ideas were the basis of the Virtual CRO concept.
Virtual CRO concept
In this project, the original idea of the Virtual CRO concept was modified to a general business concept. In the Virtual CRO concept, OncoBone will sign an agreement with a pharma/biotech company for acting as their Virtual CRO. OncoBone will then outsource all laboratory work to mutually selected partner CROs and sign agreements with them for their part of the work.
OncoBone will manage the study on behalf of the client and regularly update the client about study progress. The client will approve the Agreements, Study Protocols and Final Reports before they are finalized with the partner CROs. OncoBone will be the only point of contact for the client during the study, and fully responsible to the client for the whole project, while the partner CROs will be responsible for their parts of the work to OncoBone.
Figure 1: Interactions of OncoBone as the Virtual CRO with the client and the partner CROs
The Virtual CRO concept has been well received and there are currently many projects ongoing under the business concept. We are grateful to our current clients for their trust in us managing their projects.
Expanding the partner CRO network
Based on their professional background, founders of OncoBone have a large network of CRO companies globally. OncoBone’s strongest fields of expertise include oncology and bone diseases, where the founders have done most of their work during their academic training and corporate careers. However, the Virtual CRO concept can be applied to any indication because its core function is to assist in managing preclinical studies, and the same basic principles are followed regardless of the disease indication.
During the project, OncoBone included new CRO partners to its network, allowing to better serve clients with various needs for preclinical studies. Also, discussions with potential new partners are constantly ongoing. If your CRO company would be interested to join our partner CRO network, please contact email@example.com to learn more.
Establishment of quality assurance and audit systems
One of the issues raised in discussions with pharma/biotech clients during the project was related to qualifying CROs. In the future, OncoBone will visit its key CRO partners regularly and audit them according to an auditing system that was established in this project with the help of an expert consultant with decades of experience in auditing. By regular audits, OncoBone can ensure to its future pharma/biotech clients that the partner CROs are conducting high quality research.
If you are interested to learn more about the Virtual CRO concept of OncoBone and how it could be of help in your business, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.