Innovation, Quality & Expertise – Keys to the Post-Brexit Clinical Landscape


Brexit has, and will continue to have, a profound impact on clinical trials in the UK and throughout Europe. While no one can know precisely what that long-term impact will be, pharma companies must be ready to adjust quickly.

Many sponsors might have teams dedicated to a post-Brexit clinical landscape – and might have already formulated a plan – but much is still unknown as we enter into new, unchartered territory. For many sponsors, this scenario will be especially relevant for inventory registered within an IRT system manufactured and packaged outside the UK, with the need to be imported in-country. We must always remember that at the end of every potential change, there is a patient who needs to get their drug on time.

Let’s look at one of most vitals area of concern: drug depots.

Read the Whitepaper: Top Five Reasons You Need IRT Expertise, Not Just Software

Drug Depots – A Critical Consideration for Mid-size to Top 10 Pharma

Individual trial teams might be thinking about moving their physical drug from a UK depot to a new location amid Brexit, but they also need to consider the digital aspects of the move. Whether a client stores its central depot in the UK or transports, Cenduit works closely with sponsors to ensure that logistics will run accordingly and on time.  

Staying in the UK – Any sponsor with a central location in the UK will likely feel an impact. Many sponsors are considering their options amid the current uncertainty of drug shipments leaving the UK. During this timeframe, sponsors should consider the benefits of using a flexible, adaptable IRT system as a part of their trial supply management strategy. For clients who want to keep depots in the UK, Cenduit can increase the forecasting period or change the site group to have higher contingency stocks at sites outside the UK, being supplied by a UK depot. As such, having the ability to apply swift updates to the IRT supply configuration is essential. Cenduit can help our clients readily work through anticipated increased customs and logistical issues they may potentially experience after March 29. This practice will ensure sufficient time and supply chain planning for drugs to reach patients.

Relocating from the UK – If a sponsor decides to move its depots out of the UK – or introduces a new depot facility in addition to the UK – they should consider not only the customs and logistical issues, but also the coordinated update to the drug’s digital location. Moreover, they must consider the digital logistic settings for all sites previously supplied by the UK depot. For a larger trial, this can mean moving thousands of kits and updating a significant number of site settings. A new depot may entail different site delivery lead times. Cenduit’s long-standing expertise in trial supply management can readily plan for this, setting up a new depot outside the UK, dependent upon the client’s timeline, while making the process seamless and invisible.

EBPs and the Reliance on CMOs

While many mid-size to large pharmas have focused, dedicated teams evaluating the potential effects of Brexit, many emerging biopharmas (EBPs) may not be fully equipped. Most EBPs focus their resources on getting compounds through development, and rely on Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMOs). Additional challenges can arise because so many CMOs depend on connections for packaging, supplies and raw materials. If an EBP outsources a set of responsibilities to a CMO post-Brexit, the CMO could struggle for a variety of reasons. For example, customs delays in obtaining IMP (investigational medicinal product), and excipients can have a negative impact on timelines. Looking down the chain, each and every spoke of that wheel will probably be affected.

Cenduit’s EBP clients are supported by our expert Project Managers within a focused CORE (Customer Oriented Resources & Engagement) team. This team of dedicated service delivery experts deeply understands the needs and challenges for EBP trial delivery. Furthermore, with these recent industry changes, our client-aligned Project Managers are at the forefront of this discussion. While the coming months will pose challenges to all aspects of clinical trial set-up and execution, our Project Managers are on-hand to discuss any concerns, and will work with a sponsor to determine the optimal next steps for their trial.

Crucial Considerations for Sponsors

There will be many other considerations when Brexit flips the clinical research status quo on its head, including...

  • Supply Chain Risks – The anticipated longer shipment lead times post-Brexit could also increase supply chain risks in several areas. Inventory stockpiled in locations to mitigate risk may result in slower turnaround for inventory shipment – both in and outside the UK. The increased risk of a temperature excursion is another lingering possibility. Sponsors might want to change shipper configuration to mitigate this situation. Triggering shipments earlier will help alleviate longer lead times, and even allow for reshipment if the first shipment did have an excursion. Stocking up sites pre-Brexit can be another beneficial option to ensure no shipment is needed immediately after Brexit, when uncertainty is highest. Marking IMP as quarantined due to an excursion will continue to be available to a sponsor in the Cenduit system post-Brexit.

  • Subject Matter Expert and Support Resources – In the UK, we rely on frictionless travel, and many life science professionals come here to continue their work. Now, there is a great deal of uncertainty because of potential changes in residential status. Cenduit has many experienced client delivery professionals in the UK, throughout Europe, and the world, from where we will continue to help our clients navigate these complex changes.

People, Processes and Technology to Help You Navigate Brexit

Two things we know for certain: Changes are coming, and proactivity is key. eClinical solutions providers must be flexible and agile enough to adapt, as well as to respond expediently to these coming changes. Brexit will continue to feel like business as usual for our clients because of our core approach to quality control and client delivery. When a client needs to make any change to our IRT system, we will continue to follow standard operating procedures and processes, with checks and balances to ensure that all changes are made accurately, and to the client’s requirements.

We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how our team can help your organization navigate the complexity of the post-Brexit clinical research landscape. Contact us today.

Posted by Tom Harris, Project Manager; and Kate Godwin-Smith, Associate Director of Project Management, at Cenduit’s UK operation