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November 19, 2021 | OncoBone article

What is a Virtual CRO?

In today’s world anything can be virtual – including a Contract Research Organization (CRO). To better serve our existing and new clients OncoBone has launched a new Virtual CRO service. This blog post summarizes the Virtual CRO concept and how it works in practice.

The idea behind the Virtual CRO concept

During the past years many kinds of virtual concepts have been introduced, including virtual meetings, events, audits and many more. In this virtual world, the idea behind the Virtual CRO concept came from valuable feedback from our clients and fruitful discussions with our contacts. In fact, the concept is not new as it has been successfully utilized by some clinical CROs previously.

During the past years OncoBone has worked with many small pharma/biotech companies who have needs in the service areas we cover. One such service is partner search and evaluation, a function that in midsize and big pharma companies is usually taken care of in separate divisions. Identification and evaluation of CROs is a time-consuming exercise, especially if you have not done it before or are not doing it routinely. There is a large variety of CRO partners available globally, and all of them have a unique set of skills and expertise. After working in this specific business area for decades, OncoBone founders have obtained a large network of CRO partners globally and are in a good position to evaluate their capabilities. During our CRO evaluation projects, it has become obvious for us that the evaluation is worth doing. Many times there are substantial differences between CROs for example in price, quality and time from start to completion of projects.

Also, during the past years we have learned that many companies hesitate, and for a good reason, in starting to work in a new unfamiliar disease indication area. As an example, we have worked with clients whose primary indications are for example in CNS or metabolic diseases, and who wished to perform studies in cancer or bone diseases. We have been able to help these clients by guiding them in model selection, identifying and monitoring CROs who perform the practical work, and interpretation of results. We launched the Virtual CRO concept to be able to offer all of these to our clients in one combined service.

How it works and the benefits

In principle, as a Virtual CRO OncoBone works like a traditional CRO. One difference is that our Virtual CRO outsources all laboratory work to other CROs and service providers. Another difference is that traditional CROs typically have their own network of third-party companies that they outsource work to, but with our Virtual CRO, you can select any partner that you wish to participate in the study. We are happy to recommend possible partners, but the client eventually makes the decision.

As a Virtual CRO we are happy to take more responsibility in study planning and interpretation of results. If a study consists of multiple projects with many partners, we are also happy to provide a summary report that will assist in understanding the results in a larger concept and in regulatory filing among other benefits, a service that is not typically offered by most traditional CROs.

OncoBone is looking forward to the exciting new challenges that the Virtual CRO service will bring to us.

For additional information

If you have any questions related to the blog post or to the Virtual CRO concept, please contact



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