Top 3 Mistakes Made During IND Enabling Studies: How a CRO Can Help You Avoid Them

As biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device development companies venture into the crucial phase of Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling studies, they face a multitude of challenges. These preclinical studies are fundamental to evaluating the safety and efficacy of their products before advancing to clinical trials and regulatory approval. Unfortunately, several common mistakes can hinder progress during this critical phase. In this article, we will delve into the top three mistakes frequently encountered during IND-enabling studies and explore how a preclinical Contract Research Organization (CRO), such as Noble Life Sciences, can provide invaluable support and expertise to avoid these pitfalls.

IND Enabling Study Mistakes

Mistake #1: Inadequate Toxicology Studies

Comprehensive and robust toxicology studies serve as the critical foundation of IND-enabling studies. These investigations are designed to rigorously evaluate the safety profile of the investigational product, assessing its potential adverse effects and identifying any red flags that may arise when administered to living organisms. The insights gained from these studies are invaluable in shaping the trajectory of the entire drug or medical device development program.

The Importance of Thorough Toxicology Studies:

  1. Identifying Potential Safety Concerns: Toxicology studies are specifically designed to identify and characterize potential safety concerns associated with the investigational product. By exposing appropriate animal models to varying doses of the compound, scientists can closely monitor and analyze the physiological and biochemical responses. This data provides critical insights into the product’s safety margin, highlighting any potential hazards or unexpected adverse effects.
  2. Mitigating Risks in Clinical Trials: Inadequate toxicology studies can result in unforeseen safety issues emerging during human clinical trials. This scenario poses significant risks not only to the participants but also to the reputation and financial viability of the sponsoring company. Robust preclinical toxicology studies can help mitigate these risks by providing a comprehensive safety assessment, allowing researchers to make informed decisions about whether to proceed to the next phase of development.
  3. Meeting Regulatory Requirements: Regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), place great emphasis on the thoroughness and quality of toxicology data when evaluating IND submissions. Inadequate or poorly executed toxicology studies may lead to regulatory delays or, in worst-case scenarios, rejection of the IND application. A strong foundation of toxicology data instills confidence in regulators that the investigational product has undergone rigorous safety evaluations before human trials.

How a CRO Can Help:

A reputable Contract Research Organization (CRO) specializing in preclinical research can significantly aid companies in conducting comprehensive and high-quality toxicology studies. Such CROs possess well-equipped facilities, state-of-the-art technologies, and experienced scientific teams with expertise in various therapeutic areas. Their knowledge in designing study protocols that adhere to regulatory guidelines ensures that the studies yield accurate and reliable data. A CRO’s Contribution to Robust Toxicology Studies:

  1. Study Design and Animal Model Selection: A CRO collaborates closely with the sponsoring company to understand the unique characteristics of the investigational product. Based on this knowledge, they design tailored toxicology studies using appropriate animal models that closely mimic human physiology, increasing the relevancy and translatability of the results.
  2. Compliance with Regulatory Standards: Established CROs have a deep understanding of the evolving regulatory landscape and adhere strictly to guidelines set forth by regulatory agencies. This ensures that toxicology studies are executed in compliance with the highest industry standards, positioning the sponsoring company for a successful IND submission.
  3. Expert Data Analysis: CROs employ skilled toxicologists and research scientists who are adept at analyzing complex toxicology data. Their expertise allows for comprehensive data interpretation and the identification of subtle trends or safety signals that may be critical for decision-making in subsequent development stages.

Mistake #2: Inefficient Timeline Management

The road from preclinical research to IND submission is a complex and multifaceted journey that demands careful planning and efficient timeline management. IND enabling studies represent a critical phase within this process, and any delays encountered during this stage can have cascading effects, potentially derailing the entire development timeline. Inadequate timeline management can jeopardize the project’s success, resulting in significant financial losses, missed market opportunities, and heightened competition from rival companies. The Impact of Delays on Development:

  1. Financial Implications: Inefficient timeline management during IND enabling studies can lead to increased costs and resource allocation. Delays can prolong the duration of preclinical studies, necessitating extended use of facilities, equipment, and staff. Additionally, delayed IND submissions can cause budget overruns, impacting cash flow and requiring additional fundraising efforts to sustain the development program.
  2. Missed Market Opportunities: The pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors are highly competitive, with new innovations constantly emerging. Delays in IND enabling studies can result in competitors reaching similar milestones and advancing their own products to market faster. In such a dynamic landscape, being the first to market can confer a significant competitive advantage, including capturing larger market shares and establishing brand loyalty.
  3. Impact on Patient Care: Timely completion of IND enabling studies is crucial for bringing innovative therapies to patients in need. Delays can mean prolonged waiting periods for patients seeking new treatment options, especially those with life-threatening or debilitating conditions. Efficient timeline management is, therefore, not only financially beneficial but also impacts the lives of patients who eagerly anticipate potential breakthroughs.

How a CRO Can Help:

To mitigate the risks associated with inefficient timeline management during IND enabling studies, partnering with an experienced Contract Research Organization (CRO) becomes indispensable. Such CROs specialize in optimizing the preclinical research process, ensuring that the study progresses smoothly and on schedule. Key Contributions of a CRO to Efficient Timeline Management:

  1. Streamlined Project Management: CROs employ experienced project managers who possess a deep understanding of the complexities involved in preclinical research. They develop comprehensive project plans, identify potential bottlenecks, and proactively address challenges that may arise during the course of the study. Effective project management ensures that IND enabling studies proceed with minimal interruptions, reducing the risk of delays.
  2. Expertise in IND Enabling Activities: Established CROs have a wealth of experience in conducting IND enabling studies for a wide range of therapeutic areas. Their expertise allows for seamless study execution, accurate data collection, and timely generation of results. Moreover, CROs understand the intricacies of IND submission requirements, further expediting the regulatory process.
  3. Dedicated Resources: A reputable CRO provides access to specialized resources, state-of-the-art facilities, and cutting-edge technologies that may not be readily available to individual companies. This access can significantly expedite various aspects of the preclinical research process, from study design and execution to data analysis and reporting.

Mistake #3: Underestimating the Cost of IND Enabling Studies

IND-enabling studies are a substantial financial investment for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Underestimating the true cost of these studies can have significant repercussions, affecting both the integrity of the data and the overall success of the development program. Factors that Contribute to Study Costs:

  1. Comprehensive Study Scope: Underestimating the cost of preclinical IND enabling studies often stems from overlooking the comprehensive nature of these investigations. To establish the safety and potential efficacy of a product, a diverse range of tests and assessments is required. This includes various toxicology studies, pharmacokinetic evaluations, dose-ranging studies, and, in some cases, safety pharmacology assessments. Each of these components comes with its associated costs, and underestimating the cumulative expense can lead to budget shortfalls.
  2. Unanticipated Regulatory Requirements: Evolving regulatory standards and unforeseen requirements may arise during the study’s execution, necessitating additional tests or investigations to address new regulatory concerns. Underestimating the cost of adapting to changing regulations can strain the budget and result in delays.
  3. Skilled Workforce and Resources: Executing IND enabling studies demands a multidisciplinary team of experienced scientists, research technicians, and support staff. Additionally, access to specialized resources, advanced technologies, and well-maintained facilities is vital to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the data generated. Underestimating the costs associated with assembling and maintaining such resources may lead to compromises in the quality of the research.
  4. Data Integrity and Quality: Cutting corners to reduce costs can adversely impact the quality and completeness of the data generated during preclinical studies. Inadequate sample sizes, improper control groups, or insufficient replication can compromise the reliability and validity of the results, hindering the ability to draw robust conclusions about the investigational product’s safety and efficacy.

How a CRO Can Help:

A well-established CRO possesses the expertise to optimize study designs, ensuring that the most relevant and cost-effective approaches are employed without compromising data quality or regulatory compliance. By partnering with a CRO, companies can gain access to specialized resources and facilities, streamlining the research process and reducing overall costs.

  1. Transparent Cost Estimates: A reputable CRO offers clear and transparent cost estimates at the outset of the collaboration, providing companies with a realistic understanding of the financial commitment required. This ensures better budget planning and allocation of resources.
  2. Regulatory Expertise: Established CROs maintain a thorough understanding of the latest regulatory guidelines and standards, ensuring that the studies are designed and executed in full compliance with regulatory requirements. By working with a CRO, companies can navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape efficiently and avoid costly delays due to unexpected regulatory demands.
  3. Access to Specialized Resources: CROs are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, advanced technologies, and experienced scientific personnel across various disciplines. This access allows for the efficient execution of preclinical studies and enhances the reliability of the data generated.
  4. Optimized Study Design: CROs with extensive experience can optimize the study design to ensure cost-effectiveness without compromising the integrity of the data. By identifying the most relevant tests and assessments, CROs can streamline the research process and help companies achieve their goals within budgetary constraints.


The success of biotechnological, pharmaceutical, or medical device products hinges on the thoroughness and accuracy of IND enabling studies. Avoiding the top three mistakes commonly encountered during this phase – inadequate toxicology studies, inefficient timeline management, and underestimating costs – is paramount to achieving regulatory approval and bringing novel therapies to market successfully. Collaborating with a reputable CRO provides companies with the essential support and expertise needed to navigate through the complexities of IND enabling studies. By partnering with a preclinical CRO like Noble Life Sciences, companies gain access to a comprehensive suite of services, including world-class toxicology expertise, efficient timeline management, and cost optimization strategies. Ultimately, with the assistance of a dedicated CRO, biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical device development companies can confidently progress through IND enabling studies, reduce risks, and accelerate the development process, thereby increasing their likelihood of securing regulatory approval and positively impacting patients’ lives worldwide.

About Noble Life Sciences

Noble Life Sciences is a global, preclinical contract research organization dedicated to advancing scientific knowledge and discovery. Noble’s highly trained professionals, veterinarians, scientists, and support staff, collaborate on groundbreaking studies aimed at advancing innovative therapeutic and medical device technologies. With 24,00 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities, located in Maryland, Noble can provide a conducive environment for innovative research. Its exceptional laboratory animal care and use program ensures the well-being and ethical treatment of the animals involved in its studies.


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Stephen K. Horrigan, Ph.D.

Stephen K. Horrigan, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Pang-Kuo Lo, Ph.D. MSc

Pang-Kuo Lo, Ph.D. MSc

Team Lead, Assay Development

Arundhati Ghosh, Ph.D., MSc

Arundhati Ghosh, Ph.D., MSc

Study Director

Yongping Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Yongping Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Study Director

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