TrialScout

Penn Medicine Pushes Philadelphia into Top Five in Nation for Clinical Trials

Written by Jack Beecher, TrialScout Data Analyst

“The Clinical Trials Landscape is a product that has emerged out of the proprietary database transformation that underlies www.TrialScout.com,” said Dr. Irfan Khan, CEO of Circuit Clinical. “With this project, we aim to provide patients as well as healthcare providers and administrators with novel information that will increase awareness and understanding of clinical research as a care option.” Craig Lipset, the former Head of Clinical Innovation for Pfizer and a current board member of Empirican Group Inc. (which owns Circuit Clinical), adds "Research in the pharmaceutical industry is reliant on tremendous amounts of data to select locations for multi-center clinical trials. TrialScout’s Clinical Trial Landscape provides new insights to study planners that will improve decision-making and accelerate the development of new medicines." The landscape of the greater Philadelphia area in the clinical trial industry predominantly reflects Penn Medicine as the clear winner, while also indicating general overperformance when compared to other markets.

Despite being the eighth-most populous Combined Statistical Area (CSA) in the U.S.6, the greater Philadelphia area ranks fifth among all metropolitan areas in the country in clinical trial performance, according to the TrialScout database1. A total of 22,308 clinical trials have been conducted in the Philadelphia CSA since the inception of their tracking1. Further, Philadelphia was ranked by Nielsen in 2017 as the fourth-largest Designated Market Area (DMA) in the country; while higher-ranked markets have trial volumes that exceed that of Philadelphia (Los Angeles, ranked second, has 43,226 trials and Chicago, ranked third, has 24,610), it outpaces others with similar but lower rankings (e.g., Dallas, ranked fifth by Nielsen, has 14,309 trials, and San Jose, ranked sixth, has 20,934)1,3,4.

Distribution of Clinical Trials per Zip Code1

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Comparisons to these cities based on population further cement Philadelphia’s position as one of the top performers in the U.S. clinical trial industry. The Philadelphia CSA has a population of 7,206,807; while about 10,000 more trials have been conducted in Los Angeles, its population (18,764,814 residents) is also more than double that of Philadelphia’s, and roughly 2,000 more trials have been conducted in Chicago than Philadelphia despite the former having a population nearly three million greater (9,901,356). In addition, Philadelphia has a greater overall trial output than both the Dallas and San Jose CSAs despite having a population smaller than both (7,847,110 and 8,837,789, respectively). CSAs with populations that are relatively comparable to that of Philadelphia include Miami (6,832,588) and Atlanta (6,551,336), both of which have conducted less clinical trials than Philadelphia (21,625 and 14,477, respectively)1,3,6.

Clinical Trials in Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland CSA (2018)1

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10 Years of the Top 5 Clinical Trial Hospitals in Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland CSA (2018)1

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The top health system in the Philadelphia CSA for clinical trials is Penn Medicine; in 2018, this system had 1,410 active* clinical trials, accounting for nearly a quarter (24.7%) of all such trials in the area last year. Penn Medicine was then followed by Jefferson Health (676 active trials last year, 11.8% of Philadelphia’s total), Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (524 active trials in 2018, 9.2% of all in Philadelphia), Temple University Health System (512 active trials in 2018, 9% of Philadelphia’s total), and Christiana Care Health System (421 active trials, 7.4% of Philadelphia’s total). Beyond the top five, an additional five health systems in the Philadelphia CSA had at least 100 active clinical trials in 2018; these are Main Line Health (282 active trials), Tower Health (161 active trials), Cooper University Health Care (149 active trials), Virtua Health (111 active trials), and Nemours Children’s Health System (106 active trials)1.

Penn Medicine also boasts the top individual location for clinical trials in Philadelphia, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, which had 976 active clinical trials last year. This hospital alone accounted for 69.2% of Penn Medicine’s active trials in the CSA as well as 17.1% of all active trials in the CSA; the latter figure is a greater portion of Philadelphia’s clinical trials landscape than any other health system in the area accounts for. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was the second-most active clinical trial location in Philadelphia last year, with 513 active trials, and the top five is then rounded out by the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (455 active trials), Fox Chase Cancer Center’s Main Campus (319 active trials), and the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine’s Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine (213 active trials). Beyond these, an additional six locations in the greater Philadelphia area had over 100 active trials last year: Temple University Hospital (177 active trials), the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Hospital (176 active trials), Christiana Hospital (157 active trials), Lankenau Medical Center (127 active trials), the Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children (106 active trials), and Cooper University Hospital (also with 106 active trials). Going even deeper, a total of 37 individual locations in the Philadelphia CSA had at least 30 active clinical trials last year1.

Philadelphia has also seen relatively significant growth in active trial volume over the past decade. In 2008, there were 3,787 active clinical trials in the area, and this total has increased to 5,707 in 2018. Roughly half of this growth occurred from 2008 to 2011, as the totals grew from 3,787 to 4,792 over this period. Most of this growth is attributable to the top locations mentioned above. Unsurprisingly, the most demonstrated growth has been seen for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, more than doubling from totals of 398 active trials in 2008 to 976 last year. Following this are Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (more than doubling from 190 active trials in 2008 to 455 in 2018), Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (growing from 282 active trials in 2008 to its 2018 total of 513), and the Fox Chase Cancer Center Main Campus (from 201 active trials in 2008 to 319 last year). Also of note are the trends seen for Temple University Hospital (more than doubling from 79 active trials in 2008 to 177 in 2018), the aforementioned Abramson Cancer Center (124 active trials in 2008 to 213 last year), Christiana Hospital (90 active trials in 2008 to 157 in 2018), and its Helen F. Graham Cancer Center (111 active trials in 2008 to 176 last year). In total, only 16 locations in the Philadelphia CSA saw growth of 30 or more active trials over this span of time, lending more evidence to Philadelphia’s clinical trials landscape being concentrated amongst the top performers1.

Alternative Clinical Centers in Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland CSA (2018)1

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There are some alternative clinical trial sites in the Philadelphia CSA that buck this trend by demonstrating significant growth of their own. The most active of these sites in the area last year was Medical Oncology Hematology Consultants in Newark, Delaware; this site had 54 active clinical trials last year, and has grown to this total from two in 2009. Perhaps the most notable of these sites is the Hassman Research Institute in Berlin, New Jersey; while it did not have the most active trials last year of these sites, it was only one behind Medical Oncology Hematology Consultants with 53, and it grew to this total from five in 2015. Following these two sites are Delaware Clinical and Laboratory Physicians (46 active trials in 2018, growing from a single one in 2008), the Rothman Institute’s Center City Philadelphia location (34 active trials last year, growing from 11 in 2008), and Abington Neurological Associates’ Willow Grove Office (30 active trials last year, growing from two in 2010)1.

Current Active Clinical Trials in Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland CSA2

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According to more recent analyses of the TrialScout database, there are currently 7,384 active clinical trials in the Philadelphia CSA, with 3,491 (47.3%) of them recruiting for participation. Penn Medicine is still the most active health system in the area, with a current total of 1,496 active trials (856, or 57.2%, of which are recruiting); this system comprises 20.3% of currently active trials in the CSA as well as nearly a quarter (24.5%) of its recruiting trials. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is also still the most active individual location in the greater Philadelphia area with 885 currently active trials (536, or 60.6%, of which are recruiting), comprising 59.2% of Penn Medicine’s active trials and 62.6% of its active trials as well as 12% and 15.4% of the entire CSA’s active and recruiting trials alone, respectively. An interesting development revealed by these analyses is that the Christiana Care Health System is now the second-most active health system for clinical trials in the region, with 837 active trials (343, or 41%, of which are recruiting). Christiana currently accounts for 11.3% of active trials in the Philadelphia CSA as well as 9.8% of its recruiting trials. Jefferson Health is not far behind Christiana, with a current total of 822 active clinical trials (396, or 48.2%, of which are recruiting); this makes up 11.1% of active trials in the CSA along with 11.3% of its recruiting trials. The Temple University Health System is the next-most active health system for clinical trials in the greater Philadelphia region currently, with 555 active trials (270, or 48.6%, of which are recruiting); this system comprises 7.5% of active trials and 7.7% of recruiting trials in the area. Finally, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is right on Temple’s heels with 549 active trials (373, or 67.9%, of which are recruiting), accounting for 7.4% of Philadelphia’s active trials and 10.7% of its recruiting trials2.

Overall, the Philadelphia CSA is performing admirably in the clinical trial industry, boasting a trial volume that exceeds those of several larger cities. It is clear that Penn Medicine is the driving force behind Philadelphia’s success, but there are several other strong options throughout the region as well.

To follow the clinical trial landscape series, visit the TrialScout Clinical Trials Landscape



*Active in 2018 = Active at any point in 2018 (Start date of study is before 12/31/2018 and end date is after 1/1/2018)

  1. Approximate attributable data as per the TrialScout database collapse as of 4/11/2019. All data is derived from clinicaltrials.gov
  2. Approximate attributable data as per the TrialScout database collapse as of 7/29/2019. All data is derived from clinicaltrials.gov
  3. Approximate attributable data as per the TrialScout database collapse as of 8/19/2019. All data is derived from clinicaltrials.gov
  4. Lyons Public Relations Broadcast PR Solutions. (2017). 2017 Nielsen DMA rankings – Full list. Retrieved from Lyons PR
  5. U.S. Census Bureau. (2018) New Census Bureau population estimates show Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington has the largest growth in the United States. Retrieved from Census.gov
  6. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. (2019). Annual estimates of the resident population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2018 – United States – Combined statistical area; and for Puerto Rico. Retrieved from Factfinder.Census.gov

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