Miami, FL

University of Miami is the Clear Winner for Miami Clinical Trials


“The Clinical Trials Landscape is just one example of how the proprietary database transformation that sits behind allows the site to occupy a unique space in modern healthcare,” said Dr. Irfan Khan, CEO of Circuit Clinical. “Our goal with this project is to provide patients as well as healthcare providers and administrators with new knowledge that will help them understand and increase awareness 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 "Researchers in the pharmaceutical industry rely on tremendous amounts of data to select the locations at which multi-center clinical trials are to be conducted. TrialJourney’s Clinical Trials Landscape Series provides novel insights for study planners to improve this decision-making process, which in turn will accelerate the development of new medicines." Miami’s clinical trials landscape is dominated by the University of Miami, which generally accounts for about a quarter of active clinical trials in the area at a given moment1,2.

The Miami Combined Statistical Area (CSA) has historically been one of the most significant performers in the U.S. clinical trial industry. As seen in the map below, the greater Miami area extends almost to Florida’s southern-most point and reaches as far as Vero Beach and Sebastian to the north; it thus includes notable cities such as Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton. With a total of 21,625 clinical trials conducted since the inception of their recording, Miami ranks sixth among all metropolitan areas in the country1. This ranking is very notable in that the Miami CSA was ranked as the 16th-largest Designated Market Area (DMA) by Nielsen in 2017, as markets with similar trial volumes tend to rank much higher. Comparable CSAs in this regard include Washington D.C. (20,087 trials), Detroit (20,877 trials), San Jose (20,934 trials), and Philadelphia (22,308 trials), which were ranked seventh, thirteenth, sixth, and fourth by Nielsen, respectively. In addition, more trials have been conducted in Miami than in similarly-ranked markets, including Seattle (16,534 trials, and ranked 14th by Nielsen), Minneapolis (15,094 trials, and ranked 15th), Denver (15,386 trials, while being ranked 17th), and Orlando (7,825 trials while being ranked 18th)1,3.

Distribution of Clinical Trials per Zip Code1


A caveat to this is that the Miami CSA is more populous than most of the aforementioned. With a population of 6,832,588, it is somewhat understandable that Miami would outpace Seattle (4,764,736 residents), Minneapolis (3,946,533 residents), Denver (3,515,374 residents), and Orlando (3,361,321 residents) in trial volume. Detroit also has a comparable trial output to Miami despite a smaller population (5,336,286 residents). However, Miami has a comparable trial volume to those of the Philadelphia (7,206,807 residents), San Jose (8,837,789 residents), and Washington D.C. (9,765,772 residents) CSAs despite having a smaller population than each of them, and has conducted more trials than the similarly-populated Atlanta CSA (6,551,336 residents and 14,435 trials)1,5.

Clinical Trials in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie CSA (2018)1

10 Years of the Top 5 Clinical Trial Hospitals in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie CSA (2018)1

The University of Miami was the leading health system for clinical trial activity in Miami in 2018 with 961 active* trials, accounting for more than a quarter (27.5%) of such trials in the area. The University towers over the next-most active systems, which include the Memorial Healthcare System (209 active trials in 2018, 6% of Miami’s total), Mount Sinai Medical Center of Florida (175 active trials in 2018, 5% of Miami’s total), Baptist Health South Florida (120 active trials, 3.4% of Miami’s total), and the Cleveland Clinic Health System (107 active trials, 3.1% of all in Miami). Unsurprisingly, the most active single location in the Miami CSA last year was the flagship medical center of the University of Miami, UHealth Tower. This medical center had 561 active clinical trials in 2018, accounting for 58.4% of the University of Miami’s active trials and 16.1% of all active trials in Miami last year by itself. Further demonstrating the University of Miami’s dominance of the area’s clinical trials landscape, the second-most active location in Miami in 2018 was UHealth Tower’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (191 active trials). Rounding out Miami’s top five active locations last year are the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach (162 active trials), Memorial Regional Hospital (131 active trials), and Baptist Hospital of Miami (109 active trials). Just outside the top five is Cleveland Clinic Florida (107 active trials), the only individual location in Miami other than the aforementioned five to have at least 100 active clinical trials in 20181.

The Miami CSA has seen notable growth in active trial volume over the past decade, going from totals of 1,863 attributable** active trials in 2008 to 3,492 in 2018. Unsurprisingly, the location that has contributed the most to this growth is the UHealth Tower, doubling almost exactly from totals of 286 attributable active trials in 2008 to 561 last year. While UHealth Tower has seen a growth of 275 active trials over this period, the location with the next-most significant instance of growth seen in Miami was 69 trials, at Cleveland Clinic Florida (38 attributable active trials in 2008 to 107 last year). In addition, Memorial Regional Hospital grew from 64 attributable active trials in 2008 to 131 in 2018, for a total growth of 67 trials. Other locations with notable growth include Memorial Regional Hospital West (from four attributable active trials in 2008 to 62 in 2018), the Sylvester Cancer Center at UHealth Tower (from 136 attributable active trials in 2008 to 191 in 2018), the Sylvester Cancer Center in Deerfield Beach (from three attributable active trials in 2008 to 54 in 2018), and the Mount Sinai Medical Center (from 120 attributable active trials in 2008 to 161 last year). A total of nine individual locations in the Miami CSA saw growth figures of at least 30 from 2008 to 2018 based on attributable data; when this cutoff is extended to 20, the total number of locations increases to 201.

Alternative Clinical Centers in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie CSA (2018)1

The alternative clinical trial sites in the greater Miami area also comprise a relatively significant portion of its clinical trials. The most active of these sites in Miami last year was the Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute’s West Palm Beach location, with 50 active clinical trials (growing from a total of 33 in 2008). Not far behind are QPS Miami Research Associates (43 active trials last year, also from 33 in 2008) and IMIC Research (41 active trials last year, from a single one in 2013), the latter of which appearing to accelerate rapidly in output. Rounding out the top five in the Miami CSA is a four-way tie between Brain Matters Research, Clinical Research of South Florida, San Marcus Research Clinic, and the Indago Research and Health Center, all with 29 active trials in 2018 (growing from totals of nine in 2008, eight in 2008, two in 2009, and one in 2013, respectively). Other significant alternative sites in the area include the Florida Center for Neurology Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center (28 active trials last year), MD Clinical, JEM Research Institute, and Hematology Oncology Associates of the Treasure Coast in Port St. Lucie (all with 27 active trials last year)1.

Current Active Clinical Trials in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie CSA2

More recent analyses of the TrialJourney database indicate that the status of the clinical trials landscape in Miami remains the same currently. There is currently a total of 4,215 attributable active clinical trials in the Miami CSA, and 2,247 (53.3%) of these are currently recruiting for participation. The University of Miami Health System is still the most active health system in the area by far, with a current total of 1,034 attributable active clinical trials (615, or 59.5%, of which are recruiting), accounting for 24.5% of active trials in Miami as well as 27.4% of its recruiting trials. UHealth Tower is also still the most active individual location for clinical trials in Miami, with a current total of 540 attributable active clinical trials (345, or 63.9%, of which are recruiting). This hospital alone has more active trials at the moment than any other whole health system in Miami, accounting for 52.2% of the University of Miami’s active trials and 56.1% of its recruiting trials as well as 12.8% and 15.4% of all currently active and recruiting trials in the area, respectively. Memorial Health Care System is still the second-most active health system in Miami, with 250 attributable active clinical trials (114, or 45.6%, of which are recruiting), accounting for 5.9% of Miami’s currently active trials and 5.1% of its recruiting trials. Not far behind Memorial is Mount Sinai Medical Center of Florida, with 235 attributable active trials currently (93, or 39.6%, of which are recruiting); this system comprises 5.6% of active trials in Miami as well as 4.2% of its recruiting trials. Baptist Health South Florida is next with a current total of 144 attributable active trials (74, or 51.4%, of which are recruiting); this system makes up 3.4% of Miami’s current active trials and 3.3% of its recruiting trials. Finally, Trinity Health comes in as the fifth-most active health system in Miami currently, with 126 attributable active trials (45, or 35.7%, of which are recruiting), making up 3% of Miami’s active trials as well as 2% of its recruiting trials2.

As a whole, the greater Miami area has performed well in the clinical trial industry, exceeding expectations relative to its market ranking and performing comparably to several more highly-ranked markets1,2. Based on the attributable data, this is primarily due to the University of Miami’s tradition of excellence in clinical trials, and this does not appear to be changing anytime soon.

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