Panthera bucks the trend and brings vaccine trials to the UK

Panthera Biopartners has become a world leader in running international vaccine studies. In the last 18 months, Panthera has run eight vaccine studies at its network of clinical trial sites across the UK on behalf of the pharma industry. Panthera’s sites are regularly first in the world or first in the UK in treating the first patient, a key metric for the pharma industry. They are also very often the top recruiter of patients.

Chris Dodd, Chief Commercial Officer of Panthera, commented, “As an SMO (Site Management Organisation) that recruits patients and runs clinical trials on behalf of our pharma clients, we are now becoming the go-to SMO for vaccine trials due to our focus on recruiting quality patients quickly. We can start recruiting patients three to four weeks before NHS sites begin. In our most recent vaccine study, we recruited 400 patients before the NHS sites had started and recruited 750 patients, 150 more than requested.”

The UK was once a leader in running clinical trials for international pharma companies. Today, this industry, worth over $50 billion globally and forecast to grow to over $90 billion by 2030[1] is very competitive, and other countries have put quicker regulatory and ethics clearance procedures in place.

Chris explained how Panthera is competing: “While we often start behind the curve, we can usually make up the time by having firstly a substantial number of pre-qualified patients who have expressed an interest or taken part in a clinical trial on our database. Secondly, we partner with a network of GP practitioners who encourage their patients to consider participating in a clinical trial. This gives us a pool of over three million patients to draw from.”

Running clinical trials in the UK is very important as it supports the UK’s substantial life science industry, allows doctors to be aware of developments in the field and provides patients with cutting-edge treatments years before they become available. The UK is an attractive environment for pharma with a concentrated and diverse population, top specialists and expertise in running clinical trials.

The UK is a world leader in developing vaccines against COVID-19 and, through SMOs such as Panthera, are vital in quickly proving the safety and efficacy of these new vaccines for international pharma, particularly as the NHS and many other hospital systems worldwide have significantly reduced  clinical trial activities.

Ian Smith, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Panthera, commented, “The UK could be a world leader again if we speed up regulatory matters and the NHS would partner with SMOs and provide and encourage patients to participate in clinical trials run by the SMOs. The NHS is balancing the treatment of an ageing population and reducing waiting lists. Let the UK SMOs, with their expertise and focus, run the clinical trials to make sure the UK’s patients continue to have the opportunity to take part”.


[1] Clinical Trials Market Size Expected to Reach USD 92.45 (