Our commitment to advancing public health

At ICON, we focus on advancing public health by partnering with our customers to develop medicines and devices. We recognise that access to adequate healthcare is a fundamental human right and we are committed to progressing SDG 3: good health and wellbeing. Across the world, we’ve engaged an ever-growing number of clinical trial investigators and built long-lasting relationships with customers. By working together, we’ve made a measurable difference to improve the lives of patients. This continues to inspire our employees.

Driving patient-centric innovation

As a leading clinical research organisation, powered by Healthcare Intelligence, we are focused on using technology and partnerships to drive innovation and increase access to clinical trials. Greater diversity and participation in clinical trials advances the development of drugs and medical devices that improve patients’ quality of life and save lives.

We focus our innovation on factors that are critical to our customers. We develop integrated technologies to significantly enhance the efficiency and productivity of drug and device development programs, providing true transparency across all areas of a study.

We are focusing on innovation in three critical areas:

  • Improving clinical trial design and execution
  • Enable faster and more predictable patient recruitment
  • Evolving clinical trials to be more patient centric, which includes data collection and analysis directly from patients' digital devices

Implementing AI in a clinical trial setting

In 2022 ICON released a major AI enhancement to our proprietary OneSearch tool, which identifies the best sites for a trial opportunity. OneSearch synthesises multiple data sources, applying AI machine learning and rich data visualisation for optimum site identification. The result: improved study start-up and site cycle times, significant reductions in the percentage of low-performing sites and increases in the percentage of studies meeting planned First Patient In. OneSearch was the winner of the Data Analytics/Business Intelligence category in the Fierce Innovation Awards – Life Sciences 2022. 

Rolling out a new protocol risk assessment tool

ICON has launched the Patient-Centric Protocol Risks Assessment Tool—Rare Diseases V2.0 as part of our Patient-Centric Trial Development Toolkit. Freely available to anyone, the tool aims to help those involved in the design and management of clinical trials in rare diseases. It identifies common risks that may exist and affect participants’ ability to enrol and remain in a trial.

Diversity in clinical trials

Producing high-quality medicines and medical devices with the greatest benefits requires true diversity among clinical trial participants. We need data representing the entire spectrum of traits, such as race, ethnicity, sex, gender, age and genetics. This helps us understand how novel therapies will affect specific populations, or if any demographic may incur additional risks.

ICON’s patient-centric philosophy includes a multipronged approach to increase the diversity of everyone involved with our clinical trials, including clinical trial participants, CRAs and investigators. This includes the following elements:

  • We build trust with under-served patient communities by diversifying the make-up of our Accellacare Site Network clinical site staff. We host local events and offer free health services. We partner with community-based institutions to build our credibility and engage key influencers in specific communities as important research partners.
  • We simplify participation using services such as digital health technologies and in-home visits to make it easier for people to participate in clinical trials. We recommend a critical evaluation of the protocol to ensure it is challenged for broad inclusion. We also proactively reduce the logistical and financial burdens of trial participation.
  • We focus our conversations with sites on how they plan to recruit for their unique demography and ensure we can provide the tools they need. We drive outreach activity by developing awareness campaigns across different advertising platforms.
  • We factor patient feedback into the development of recruitment materials, which feature plain language and use images and messaging reflective of under-represented populations.
  • We refine our approach using real world data to evaluate diverse patient population samples at or near sites. We also host paid focus groups, led by diverse persons, to enhance our understanding of unique barriers to clinical trial participation faced by the targeted demographic. We continually seek feedback on any procedures and criteria that may hinder enrolment for any given subgroup.

Our commitment to our employees

ICON succeeds as a company thanks to thousands of devoted employees who deliver our services globally and ultimately help improve patient outcomes. In 2022, we set out to strengthen our teams with a heightened focus on diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB), industry-leading talent management practices and employee health and safety initiatives.

A culture of diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB)

As a global, values-driven organisation, we acknowledge and celebrate our differences in gender, ethnicity, culture and abilities. Respecting diverse viewpoints and experiences is foundational to our interactions with each other and with our patients, customers and suppliers. Moreover, we strive to build teams that reflect the various geographies and communities in which we live and work and the patients we serve.

Overall ICON is 72% female and 28% male. Our goal is to achieve gender parity at the VP level and above by 2025. By the end of 2022, 59% of all promotions at VP level and above were female, bringing the total number of females at the VP level and above to 42%—a two percentage-point increase from 2021, indicating important progress toward our goal to achieve gender parity at the VP level and above by 2025.

Uniting for Global Inclusion Day

ICON’s DIB Operating Committee hosted its first-ever Global Inclusion Day in 2022. Employees came together virtually and in person to participate in thought-provoking activities, share their thoughts on inclusion and offer suggestions for how to become more inclusive of others. Watch the video on inclusion at ICON here.

Watch the video

Our commitment to strengthening our communities

Each year ICON employees find new and impactful ways to make a positive difference in the world around us. ICON has established a long track record of supporting our communities through corporate giving programs, employee volunteering opportunities and industry–academia partnerships. We have focused our efforts on a broad vision for social impact, one that includes aligning priorities to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the organisational goals of diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Examples of how we make a difference include: 

Supporting employee-nominated charities

ICON received 370 nominations from across the world for our annual charity donation program, which encourages employees to submit causes that matter to them. From these nominees, ICON selected 10 charities to each receive $10,000. In 2022, we made an additional donation of $25,000 to the Children of Heroes charity fund in Ukraine, supporting children who have been severely impacted by the war. 

Run in the Dark to help find a cure for paralysis

In 2022, 540 ICON employees right across the world participated in Run in the Dark, an annual fundraising event to help find a cure for paralysis. Organised by the Mark Pollock Foundation, this week-long event allowed runners to participate in person or virtually. ICON was the largest global corporate team to participate and helped to raise $10,000 for the cause.

Launching a new STEM scholarship program

In 2022, we expanded our industry-academia partnerships through the creation of a new ICON scholarship program. This program provides greater opportunities for underrepresented groups to study STEM subjects. For the 2022/2023 academic year, ICON is funding 33 scholarships for STEM course students in partnership with three universities in Ireland (Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Limerick) and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund in the US. The latter is a not-for-profit organisation that supports nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member schools, including publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).