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NIHR Clinical Research Network achieves 25 first global patients in one year

The NIHR Clinical Research Network has reached a milestone in study set up achievements by recruiting 25 first global patients in commercial studies in the 2013/14 financial year.

The 25th study to make this highly sought after achievement was at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. The  study aims to build on existing safety and effectiveness data for ocriplasmin, a treatment for some people with the rare eye condition, vitreomacular traction.

A registry study to characterise genetic and pathway biomarkers in Noonan syndrome and other RASopathy patients managed by researchers at the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine at CMFT was also part of the list.

Recruiting a first global patient is a key performance indicator for the life-sciences industry in clinical research delivery as it shows the Network can support the rapid set-up of studies.

Since the Network started to record first global patients, it has achieved 42 in total. But it is during the past financial year that it has seen a rapid upturn in the number of studies to make the achievement. This is down to the reduction of study set-up times.

Commenting on the news, Dr Jonathan Sheffield, Chief Executive Officer of the Clinical Research Network, said: "Congratulations to Manchester Royal Eye Hospital for successfully recruiting a first global patient and to each of the studies that have made up this fantastic milestone of 25 first global patients.

"Achieving a first global patient shows that the UK has the infrastructure to compete on the international stage in terms of clinical research study set-up. The Network is driving down the time it takes to set up a study in the UK and this in turn is being rewarded with a record number of these achievements."

Five of the studies that have achieved first global patient were sponsored by Novartis UK. These have included studies in to psoriatic arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute heart failure and psoriasis.

Darren Gerrard is a Senior Clinical Study Manager at Novartis UK, said: "What we excel at is being the fastest country globally to start our trials and get patients on to new treatments. This is encouraging more clinical trials to be placed in the UK, when many similar companies are pulling out.

"Many trusts are now winning more commercial work due to their ability to quickly agree costs in line with the costing template which in turn has led to excellent metrics on start-up and giving them more time to recruit to target. I cannot emphasis enough how a consistent approach to site set-up in line with NIHR guidance has become. We set ourselves above the competition by aligning site costs and using standardised contracts.

"This is all about partnership with our NIHR and local research Network colleagues and team work, working better together nationally which will continue our success in a difficult marketplace. Fast start up can only lead to more trials placed in the UK, better patient outcomes and experience of new medicines."

Professor Dame Sally C. Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health said: "Rapid study set-up is integral to attracting new studies and companies to the UK. This is a key aim of the NIHR and plays an important role in the Government's Strategy for UK Life Sciences."

To see a full list of studies that have achieved first global patient and to find out more about commercial contract studies supported by the Network, visit www.supportmystudy.nihr.ac.uk.