Many sponsor-CRO relationships are based upon one or more transactional agreements that are each focused on a specific project. Projects are offered by the sponsor and are generally bid upon by a number of different CROs. Once a project is awarded to a particular CRO, then that organization becomes responsible for the logistics, such as setting up the facility, making technology decisions, assigning staff, organizing the work flow, and ensuring compliance with appropriate regulatory guidelines. When the project is completed, the relationship between the sponsor and CRO ends, at least until the cycle of offering, bidding, and awarding has been repeated with a different project.
While this type of arrangement works very well for some sponsors, particularly those with small, well-defined projects, other sponsors find the transactional agreement presents challenges.