A Look In­side the Bou­tique En­roll­ment Agency Spon­sors Are Clam­or­ing to Work With


  • The bou­tique biotech com­pa­ny cur­rent­ly out­per­form­ing and over-de­liv­er­ing for clin­i­cal tri­al re­cruit­ment is com­prised of a team not na­tive to biotech.
  • Clin­i­cal En­roll­ment’s ap­proach to so­cial-first, be­hav­ioral­ly dri­ven con­tent tar­get­ing was honed in the lifestyle space, but has trans­lat­ed so well for drug spon­sors that they have con­sis­tent­ly met every bench­mark and clin­i­cal tri­al mile­stone since their cre­ation.
  • The de­mand for the agency’s ser­vices has been so great that the team has had to grow to meet the 400% in­crease in new client work.
  • Founder Bryan Man­ning, born with a rare dis­ease him­self, is deeply in­vest­ed in en­sur­ing that po­ten­tial­ly life-chang­ing drugs are able to reach pa­tients since a clin­i­cal tri­al that might’ve made im­por­tant break­throughs for his con­di­tion failed be­cause it could not find enough pa­tients.
  • Two key ar­eas of suc­cess for Clin­i­cal En­roll­ment, which boasts suc­cess­es in the on­col­o­gy, gene ther­a­py and cog­ni­tive ther­a­py ar­eas, have been in late-tri­al turn­around re­cruit­ment and speed to mar­ket.

If you work in the world of drug spon­sor­ship, chances are you’ve heard the rum­blings about a new(ish) bou­tique agency putting up num­bers so con­sis­tent and big that they’re not just meet­ing re­cruit­ment bench­marks, they’re oblit­er­at­ing them. The rise of this once un­der-the-radar col­lec­tive of dig­i­tal heavy hit­ters and vet­er­an cre­atives would make for the un­der­dog sto­ry of the year, ex­cept that to be con­sid­ered an un­der­dog, one needs to be at a per­ceived or re­al dis­ad­van­tage, and Clin­i­cal En­roll­ment most def­i­nite­ly is not, ex­cept for one im­por­tant fact: they come from out­side of biotech.

Helmed by Bryan Man­ning, who boasts a proven track record in the dig­i­tal con­tent mar­ket­ing land­scape as co-founder of one of the fastest-grow­ing cause-based com­pa­nies in the coun­try, CE may tech­ni­cal­ly have been con­sid­ered biotech out­siders, but they’re far from out­laws. Uti­liz­ing an ap­proach that was care­ful­ly honed while work­ing in e-com­merce and so­cial me­dia, Man­ning’s agency had been op­er­at­ing al­most en­tire­ly via word of mouth from sat­is­fied spon­sors — no easy feat for the non-biotech crowd. Yet with no short­age of suc­cess­ful study re­cruit­ment sto­ries un­der their belt, clients couldn’t keep from gush­ing about their clin­i­cal tri­al suc­cess­es. In­dus­try cov­er­age in­evitably fol­lowed, and now the se­cret seems to be out.

“At the be­gin­ning, we were man­ag­ing the work­flow and re­la­tion­ships at a de­lib­er­ate pace, be­cause in to­tal hon­esty, those ear­ly clients took a leap of faith that we could do what we said we would do. But now that we’re past the test­ing ground stage and have some high­er pro­file wins, word of mouth has picked up even more and we’ve seen a 400% in­crease in new client work. Four hun­dred per­cent! So I think it’s safe to say the cat’s out of the bag,” says Man­ning.

But keep­ing up with the de­mand so as not to cause a bot­tle­neck isn’t just cru­cial, it’s per­son­al for this Founder, so Clin­i­cal En­roll­ment has made some key hires to aid in scal­ing to meet growth. Born with a rare ge­net­ic eye dis­ease called Star­gardt’s, Man­ning un­der­stands the im­por­tance of giv­ing pa­tients ac­cess to po­ten­tial­ly life-chang­ing sci­en­tif­ic dis­cov­er­ies. Up­on learn­ing that a clin­i­cal tri­al that could have cured his reti­nal eye dis­ease failed be­cause it couldn’t re­cruit enough pa­tients, Man­ning found that re­al­i­ty un­ac­cept­able — and he knew that his skill set may prove in­valu­able to an in­dus­try that couldn’t seem to get past its study en­roll­ment hur­dles.

While Clin­i­cal En­roll­ment’s con­tent mes­sag­ing and tar­get­ing strat­e­gy isn’t na­tive to biotech, that doesn’t mean it’s hap­haz­ard. It’s the re­sult of care­ful learn­ings test­ed out in a more lifestyle land­scape, but it mim­ics au­di­ence be­hav­iors and at­ti­tudes so well that it has trans­lat­ed seam­less­ly and out­per­formed for clients.

“How do we mea­sure a suc­cess­ful tri­al part­ner­ship? Well, every treat­ment area is unique, but we bench­mark our­selves against the spon­sor’s num­ber one re­cruit­ment en­gine — the clin­i­cal sites them­selves — and so far we have out­per­formed the sites in each and every tri­al,” says Man­ning.

Two ar­eas that so­lid­i­fy that this fresh set of eyes wasn’t just a fluke are ar­eas where drug spon­sors typ­i­cal­ly stall out or strug­gle the most: speed to mar­ket, and late-tri­al turn­around re­cruit­ment. In an in­dus­try where it’s im­per­a­tive to not just have a po­ten­tial­ly ef­fec­tive drug, but to get it to mar­ket faster than oth­ers in the space, Clin­i­cal En­roll­ment un­der­stands that hit­ting ap­provals leaves no room for er­rors caused by a lack of par­tic­i­pant num­bers or screen fail rates. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, clients have ap­proached Man­ning’s team as much as ⅔ of the way in­to a study, when tri­als have a ten­den­cy to stum­ble, and CE has been able to jump­start re­cruit­ment and bring clients over the fin­ish line. They al­so keep di­ver­si­ty and a chang­ing reg­u­la­to­ry land­scape top of mind, and now have proven wins in ar­eas like cog­ni­tive ther­a­py, on­col­o­gy, and gene ther­a­py.

“We come from a world where there may be 250,000 to one mil­lion run­ning ads be­ing served up to au­di­ences, and cut­ting through the noise is more about vol­ume than nu­ance,” says Man­ning. “But in the world of on­col­o­gy, for in­stance, we may see on­ly 30 ads on Face­book, and we’re 25 of them. Even still, it mat­ters what users see, what you say, and how you say it.”

The dif­fer­ence, as CE has found it, is that their con­tent sits square­ly in the sweet spot for pa­tients who are deal­ing with con­di­tions, on the in­ter­net look­ing for help, and want to feel a more hope­ful, per­son­al con­nec­tion with what they find. And for even the most sea­soned biotech crowd skep­ti­cal of out­side ap­proach­es, and es­pe­cial­ly the clients on Clin­i­cal En­roll­ment’s ros­ter, these suc­cess­es are enough to make a be­liev­er out of them.

Learn more about Clin­i­cal En­roll­ment’s ap­proach here.