Purpose: Investigator-initiated research involving investigational drugs and devices is key to improving health. However, this requires the investigator to serve as a “sponsor–investigator,” which can be complex and overwhelming. The Investigational New Drug/Investigational Device Exemption (IND/IDE) Taskforce of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) consortium carried out a survey to examine how academic health centers (AHCs) assist sponsor–investigators with regulatory responsibilities.
Method: The 24 CTSA centers existing in 2008 were surveyed regarding regulatory oversight and support for sponsor–investigators. Responses were analyzed by descriptive statistics. The evaluation of survey responses yielded three models of institutional support/oversight.
Results: Nineteen centers and one affiliate responded. Eleven (55%) reported having an IND/IDE support office, increased from five (25%) prior to their CTSA award. The volume of investigator-initiated IND/IDE research was highly variable (measured by numbers of investigators, IND/IDE applications, and studies). Oversight, if done, was provided by either the IND/IDE office or elsewhere in the institution. Most IND/IDE offices assisted with IND/IDE submissions and preparation for external audits. Half reported advanced training for sponsor–investigators. Almost all reported a goal to increase IND/IDE research. Important issues include the need for robust training of investigator/staff, appropriate determination of IND-exempt research, and sufficient support for preparing IND/IDE applications.
Conclusions: Investigator-initiated research involving IND/IDEs is essential, but complex. AHCs should examine how they support sponsor–investigators in meeting the complex requirements. A model of either expert consultation/support or full service will minimize risks to participants and institutions, and regulatory noncompliance.