Sally Bullock reports on an innovative web-based delivery service aimed at speeding up the time-consuming and expensive process of clinical trials.
Clinical trials are a time consuming and expensive fact of life for most doctors, drug companies, and test laboratories. But now an easy-to-use web-based delivery service which is available throughout Europe, Asia and America is claiming to be able to save the pharmaceutical industry time and money when creating and testing new products.
TNT, the business to business express delivery company, has developed a system called Clinical Trials Network (CTN). This system has been developed to specifically meet the needs of the drug development industry.
Value added services
The online logistics system, says the company, goes beyond purely providing simple collection and delivery of material and provides packaging and refrigerants as well as many other value added services.
The system also addresses the challenge of ensuring the flow of clear communication between all the involved parties within the trials at every step of the process.
Much emphasis has been placed on helping the doctors who are a vital part of the trials process. Using Clinical Trials Network, collections of samples can be booked on the web, the booking process is quick and on-screen prompts ensure the sender provides the appropriate information for each shipment.
Instant help is also available at the click of a mouse, this is especially useful for information on the ordering of dry ice and the shipment of dangerous goods.
The system helps doctors ensure they have an efficient shipping process and fewer repeat recall problems.
Laboratories also look to be more efficient, and Clinical Trials Network's instant tracking and tracing facility gives laboratories the opportunity to know in advance the material arriving the following day which allows for planning allocation of manpower and laboratory equipment.
Bill Thomson, corporate development manager, TNT Express UK: "From close relationships with pharmaceutical and its biotechnology customers, TNT Express Services realised that the clinical trials supply chain could be made much more efficient and much less fragmented.
"At the moment these customers have to use one company for sample distribution, another for dry ice services and yet another for kit assembly and distribution.“
Single source of supply
He continues: "TNT is the first and only organisation to provide a true aone-stop shop' that seamlessly links every partner in the process, from doctors, lab technicians, to dry-ice suppliers, fulfilment companies and pharmaceutical companies.
"The result for our customers will be much lower costs and much faster atime-to-market' for new drugs.“
But just how easy is this system to use and how much time does it save?
All parties involved in the trials chain have instant, secure desktop access to the same accurate data. Tracking samples, keeping records and ordering collections are simply a matter of mouse clicks.
TNT expects doctors who use Clinical Trials Network to be able to reduce the time that they currently spend preparing and tracking clinical trial shipments by approximately 50 per cent, compared to the traditional methods of telephone and fax ordering.
In addition, the system offers online access to trial-specific tracking information of sample shipments, enabling central laboratories to manage the scheduling of laboratory staff based on real-time information of sample shipment arrivals.
Shortened start-up times
By using Clinical Trials Network, TNT Express UK claims that doctors, laboratory technicians and sponsors will benefit from shortened start-up times, reduced patient recruitment periods, improved data management and processing and a more efficient distribution of study status information to the medical community.
Enquiry No 18
Contact Bill Thomson at TNT Express UK, Atherstone, Warkwickshire, UK. www.tnt.co.uk or www.tnt.com/ctndemo