R&D is rapidly evolving and with it more sophisticated therapies across cell and gene and other novel platforms. Simultaneously, clinical trial design and execution are evolving, too. One factor for trial changes is the shift to remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, decentralized and hybrid clinical trials give sponsors the opportunity to position their products on the best path forward while embracing the remote work trend. However, while many of the workflows and regulatory pathways for these trials look like traditional protocols, talent needs can be markedly different.

These needs result in the “DCT effect” on talent management: a phenomenon that impacts not just who drug developers hire but where and how they hire also.

To keep trials on the right track, planning for the “DCT effect” can help.

hire for specialization

To start, decentralized trials need talent possessing specialized skill sets. This means sourcing candidates who not only understand drug development but are familiar with certain platforms. In addition, the right talent will have experience working with decentralized trials and can manage the nuanced needs of remote research.

However, finding a candidate with the right specialization and experience can be easier said than done, particularly in today’s war for talent.

reputation matters

John Ebeid, Senior Vice President of Randstad Life Sciences, recognizes the difficulty with finding — and keeping — great talent. He regularly sees the demand for biopharma candidates who understand the industry and have experience with decentralized trials.

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If you're a sponsor, you’re likely feeling the pressure to get more aggressive to find talent because it's a competition.

John Ebeid, Senior Vice President of Randstad Life Sciences

He points out that it’s not enough to provide the highest offer to potential candidates. A company’s reputation, culture and pipeline also play a role in where a person decides to work. This means to find the right people you need to position your organization as an attractive employer.

coordinate with project management

Today, more trials are detached from physical centers. This gives you the ability to delegate more tasks to a geographically diverse workforce and in turn broadens the candidate pool. Coupled with current labor shortages, biopharma organizations that hire remotely have an advantage.

However, decentralized workflows can jeopardize the trial if they lack a centralized foundation. To combat this risk, Ebeid suggests a strong project management and coordination effort. To do so, organize trial talent into three buckets: operations, clinical expertise and technology enablement. Then view them with an eye for unity instead of in their own particular silos.

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You need to ensure that all teams and resources act together quickly and in an agile fashion.

John Ebeid, Senior Vice President of Randstad Life Sciences

Clinical research is changing in this new generation of R&D. The “DCT effect” on talent management is one example of the challenges sponsors now face. Planning for it can help keep decentralized trials — and ultimately your product — on the right path.

To learn more, explore Randstad’s playbook on 2023 biopharma staffing trends here.