Strategic use of statistical thinking in drug development.

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The role of the statistician and statistical thinking in the pharmaceutical industry has evolved greatly in the last four or five decades. Regulatory developments and the changing face of the science of drug development have driven this evolution. The increasing regulatory requirement for statistical input in critical areas has facilitated a wider range of applications. The pace of change of science in general has brought statisticians into contact with a wider range of potential customers. More importantly, it has allowed the statistician to become increasingly involved in strategic issues with the possibility of influencing the direction of the business. However, it is not clear that the statistical profession in industry is adequately prepared for these opportunities either in attitude or training. Changing the statisticians' approach to their role and acquiring the correct training and experience are critical for the profession to optimize their contribution to the drug discovery and development processes.





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Rockhold, FW (2000). Strategic use of statistical thinking in drug development. Stat Med, 19(23). pp. 3211–3217. 10.1002/1097-0258(20001215)19:23<3211 Retrieved from

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Frank Wesley Rockhold

Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Frank is a full time Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics and Faculty Director for Biostatistics at Duke University Medical Center, Affiliate Professor of Biostatistics at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Strategic Consultant at Hunter Rockhold, Inc.  His 40+-year career includes senior research positions at Lilly, Merck, and GlaxoSmithKline, where he retired as Chief Safety Officer and Senior Vice President of Global Clinical Safety and Pharmacovigilance.  He has held faculty appointments at six different universities.    Dr. Rockhold served for 9 years on the board of directors of the non-profit CDISC, most recently as Chairman, and is past president of the Society for Clinical Trials and a past member of the PCORI Clinical Trials Advisory Panel. He is currently Chair of the Board of the Frontier Science and Technology Research Foundation and a technical advisor to EMA.

Dr. Rockhold has diverse research interests and consulting experience in industry and academia including clinical trials design, data monitoring, benefit/risk, safety and pharmacovigilance and has been a leader in the scientific community in promoting data disclosure and transparency in clinical research.    Frank is widely published in major scientific journals across a wide variety of research topics.

Frank holds a BA in Statistics from The University of Connecticut, an ScM in Biostatistics from The Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in Biostatistics from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University. Frank is an Elected Fellow of both the American Statistical Association and the Society for Clinical Trials, a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, an Accredited Professional Statistician, PStat®, and a Chartered Statistician, CStat.  

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