Clinical Trial Transparency Hits the C-Suite

July 29, 2015 Thomas Wicks

You may have seen clinical trial transparency in the news last week as international publications like the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times covered the topic. A collection of 85 different asset managers and pension funds from the US, EU and Australia aligned with the AllTrials initiative to urge clinical trial sponsors to be more transparent with clinical trial data.

The industry has continued to see pressure from patient advocate groups, doctors, researchers, regulators and individual patients to make more clinical trial information publicly available. The value of doing so has always been positioned as aiding public health. But this new development has the potential to hit clinical trial sponsors where their wallets are. The investors who support the AllTrials message manage $3.8 trillion dollars in investment funds. Suddenly, you’ve gotten the attention of the C-suite. 


 As investors look at clinical trial sponsors, their decisions are, in part, based on disclosed clinical trial data. This data is considered financially material to their investment decisions so completeness and accuracy are important. And now, a sponsor’s efforts toward transparency (or lack thereof) may impact more than just their reputation, it can also have an impact on their valuation.

AllTrials is in the process of assessing the top 25 clinical trial sponsor disclosure policies and will be issuing a report this Fall. Now that clinical trial disclosure is being directly tied to investment money in the board room and in the media, we may expect to see greater pressure on sponsors resulting in broader disclosure policies. At the very least, leadership teams at clinical trial sponsors will be re-evaluating their policies to better understand where existing programs diverge from the AllTrials model. The size of the gap may have a profound impact on how the company is viewed and valued. Sponsors may not align precisely with the AllTrials approach but they should understand and be able to articulate any gaps as well as the rationale behind their existing clinical trial disclosure policies and any in-process changes to those policies.   


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