Companies fail to accurately predict clinical spending

August 3, 2011

Companies in the life sciences industry are struggling to accurately predict their spending for clinical development, according to a survey conducted by US-based software provider ClearTrial.

Companies in the life sciences industry are struggling to accurately predict their spending for clinical development, according to a survey conducted by US-based software provider ClearTrial. According to a statement, only 21% of survey respondents are highly confident in the accuracy of their study budgets.

The study surveyed 187 managers and executives involved in forecasting and budgeting clinical studies in 75 biopharma and medical device companies from the US, Europe and Japan. More than 85% of survey respondents reported typical variance from forecast to the actual costs of clinical studies of at least 6%, while one in five reported a cost variance of 16% or more. For 25% of respondents, variance is 11–15 %.

Another key finding of the report related to planning efficiency. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they required at least one to two weeks to create a ballpark budget for clinical studies, while 50% said they required three weeks or more.

According to ClearTrial, one possible reason for the difficulties experienced by companies when it comes to forecasting and budgeting studies could be attributed to the level of technology being used. More than 55% of respondents said they used Microsoft Excel as their primary budgeting tool. Other industries, such as manufacturing or construction, however, use industry-specific planning software.

“The use of planning spreadsheets uncovered by the survey is at a level you would have seen in other industries 10 or 15 years ago,” Andrew Grygiel, Chief Marketing Officer at ClearTrial, said in a statement. “The life sciences industry still lags behind other industries in the use of purpose-built forecasting and budgeting software.”