“The impact on our business is some time in the future”

How is SwedenBIO's member companies affected by the corona crisis and what does it mean for ongoing and planned clinical studies? We look at qPharmetra, which offers pharmacokinetic services to customers in the US and Europe.

What is the situation for clinical trials internationally and how are you affected?

We have a broad network of clients in the US and Europe and our view is that the industry is being affected significantly, but somewhat differently depending on the size of the company, the development phase of the company’s projects and whether you are looking at the short or long term. We see problems with logistics in the short term that cause delays in ongoing projects, no matter where they are in their development. In the longer term, we see major impacts in terms of slowing down the pace of development, not starting phase 1 studies at all, and making recruitment to patient studies more difficult or stopping altogether. Even for priority projects, delays are inevitable due to the drop in productivity following the measures taken to contain the spread of Covid-19. We receive signals of a general delay in the order of 3-6 months.

At the same time, I believe that we will find ways to move forward. The logistics seem to be getting back on track and once the situation in the health sector has stabilized, we need to get the experimental activities going again. Without minimizing the need to deal with Covid-19 and the patients affected now, urgently, there is also a great need for better treatments for other patient groups that are now at risk of being delayed.

When do you see the impact of Corona on your business?

qPharmetra is a service company and is affected by the situation like any other consulting company. The impact on our activities is somewhat forward-looking as much of what we do is based on the results of completed studies. The packages of measures presented by the government are currently focused on the immediate effects and risk missing the pharmaceutical industry where companies are affected in the longer term.

What is your strategy to address the situation?

As a company, we see an opportunity to focus more on preclinical work, where much of the activity is more business as usual and where we also see that modeling and simulation of exposure, response, differences between species and linking to the clinic is an underutilized opportunity. The slower pace of development should also be used by companies to better analyze available data to make informed decisions.