Written by Jack Beecher, TrialJourney Data Analyst
“The Clinical Trials Landscape is a project that originates as a product of the proprietary database transformation that underlies www.trialjourney.com,” said Dr. Irfan Khan, CEO of Circuit Clinical. “Our objective with this project is to provide new insights and information to patients, providers, and healthcare administrators that will help them understand and consider clinical research as a care option.” The individual landscape of Minneapolis is one that is characterized by healthy competition between a multitude of health systems.
Ranked as the 15th-largest Designated Market Area in the U.S. by Nielsen in 20173, the Minneapolis Combined Statistical Area (CSA; inclusive of cities such as St. Paul, St. Cloud and Hutchinson among others) is performing admirably in the clinical trial industry. With a 15,094 trials conducted since the implementation of their tracking, Minneapolis has conducted the 13th-most in the country1. Although more trials have been conducted in some cities that were given similar ranks by Nielsen, such as Seattle (16,534 trials and ranked 14th) and Miami (21,625 trials and ranked 16th), Minneapolis has outperformed multiple cities with higher Nielsen ranks, namely Dallas (ranked 5th despite 14,309 trials), Atlanta (14,477 trials and ranked 10th), Tampa (9,636 trials and ranked 11th), and Phoenix (9,775 trials while ranked 12th)1,3.
It is worth noting, however, that both Miami and Seattle have larger populations than Minneapolis. The Minneapolis CSA has a population of 3,946,533, compared to Seattle’s 4,764,736 and Miami’s 6,832,5885. The most comparable CSAs to Minneapolis in terms of population include Denver (with a population of 3,515,374), Orlando (3,361,321 residents), and Portland (3,239,335)5; while Denver has a slightly higher trial volume than Minneapolis (with 15,386 trials), Minneapolis outpaces the other two. Orlando has an estimated 7,825 trials, while Portland has 9,1721. Aside from Denver, Minneapolis is most comparable in trial volume to Dallas and Atlanta, both of which have significantly larger populations (7,847,110 and 6,551,336 residents, respectively)1,5
The Minneapolis CSA had a 3,817 active* clinical trials in 2018, and this total was spread relatively evenly across several health systems. University of Minnesota Health had the most active trials in the region last year with 760, comprising 19.9% of the Minneapolis total. This system was closely followed by the Allina Health System (634 active trials, 16.6% of active trials in Minneapolis) and HealthPartners (with 599 active trials, 15.7%), with the top five in Minneapolis being rounded out by Fairview Health Services (468 active trials, 12.2%) and Minnesota Oncology (262 active trials, 6.9%). Four additional health systems in the greater Minneapolis area boasted more than 100 active trials last year: Hennepin Health Care System (with 174), North Memorial Health Care (115), CentraCare Health System (112), and the Ridgeview Medical Center (107). The most active individual location in Minneapolis last year was the University of Minnesota Medical Center’s East Bank Campus with 483 active trials, accounting for 12.3% of active trials in the city alone. The next most active locations include the Park Nicollet Clinic in Saint Louis Park (205 active trials in 2018, 5.4% of Minneapolis’ total), Abbott Northwestern Hospital (198 active trials, 5.2%), Hennepin County Medical Center (174 active trials, 4.6%), and Regions Hospital (156 active trials, 4.1%)1. To further highlight the balanced nature of the clinical trials landscape in Minneapolis, thirteen individual locations in the area had at least 100 active trials last year. Other than the aforementioned, these include Fairview Southdale Hospital (126 active trials), Mercy Hospital Coon Rapids (also with 126 active trials), United Hospital (116 trials), Fairview Ridges Hospital (113 trials), Minnesota Oncology at the Woodbury Clinic (112 trials) and Maplewood Cancer Center (109 trials), Ridgeview Medical Center (107 trials), and HealthEast St. John’s Hospital (105 trials)1.
Generally, most major metropolitan areas in the U.S. have seen steady growth in trial volume over the past decade, but Minneapolis bucks this trend. Minneapolis had 3,477 active trials in 2008, increasing by only about 400 to its 2018 total of 3,817; for reference, Atlanta went from 1,929 active trials to 3,188, Dallas from 1,573 to 3,018, and St. Louis from 1,643 to 3,244 over the same period of time. Minneapolis, however, has decreased from a 4,252 active trials in 2012 to its 2018 total1. These figures suggest that Minneapolis was perhaps one of the most significant contributors to the clinical trials landscape of the entire country in years prior, but has since matured with the responsibility leveling out across a wider distribution of cities. In any event, there are still some locations in the Minneapolis area that have seen notable growth in trial output over the past decade. The University of Minnesota Medical Center’s East Bank Campus has more than doubled, going from 233 active trials in 2008 to its 2018 total of 483. Abbott Northwestern Hospital has seen similar growth, more than doubling from 76 active trials in 2008 to 198 in 2018. Other locations in the greater Minneapolis area with demonstrable growth include Lakeview Hospital (19 active trials in 2008 to 91 in 2018), Mercy Hospital’s Unity Campus (24 active trials in 2008 to 86 in 2018), North Memorial Health Hospital (31 active trials in 2008 to 85 last year), Saint Francis Regional Medical Center (25 active trials in 2008 to 77 last year), HealthPartners Riverside Clinic (11 active trials in 2008 to 67 last year), Fairview Lakes Medical Center (2 active trials in 2013 to 49 last year), and the Fairview Clinic in Maple Grove (a single active trial in 2009 to 49 last year), among others1.
The most significant alternative clinical trial sites in Minneapolis are predominantly accounted for by Minnesota Oncology; this network has three of the top five of such sites in the area. Leading the way in this regard is Minnesota Oncology at the Woodbury Clinic and Maplewood Cancer Center, detailed above. These are followed by the Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin at Westfields Hospital and Clinic, with an estimated 71 active trials in 2018 and growing from three in 2008, Minnesota Oncology’s Minneapolis Clinic (41 active trials last year, more than doubling from 20 in 2008), and the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology’s main office in Golden Valley (from 7 active trials in 2008 to 18 in 2018)1.
Further analyses of the TrialJourney database have been conducted to provide a more current look at the clinical trials landscape of Minneapolis, as well. These analyses indicate that there are currently 5,960 active trials occurring in the Minneapolis CSA; of these, 2,663 (44.7%) are recruiting for participation. The Allina Health System is now the most active in the area, with 1,036 currently active trials (391, or 37.7%, recruiting); this system accounts for 17.4% of active trials and 14.7% of recruiting trials in the area. In another shift from historical trends, HealthPartners is now the second-most active health system in Minneapolis, not far behind with 1,008 active trials at the moment (396, or 39.3%, recruiting); this health system accounts for 16.9% of active trials and 14.9% of recruiting trials in the CSA. The next-most active system in Minneapolis currently is Fairview Health Services, with 860 active trials (396, or 46%, of which are recruiting); these figures comprise 14.4% of Minneapolis’ active trials and (like HealthPartners) 14.9% of the city’s recruiting trials. University of Minnesota Health is next with 764 currently active trials, 482 (63.1%) of which are recruiting. This system accounts for 12.8% of active trials and 18.1% of recruiting trials in Minneapolis. Despite other health systems boasting greater volumes of active trials than the University of Minnesota, this system still has the most recruiting trials in the greater Minneapolis area. In addition, University of Minnesota’s East Bank Campus is still the most active individual location in the CSA; it currently has estimates of 457 active trials and 300 recruiting trials (65.6 % of its total, which is also the most recruiting studies of all individual locations in Minneapolis), accounting for 7.7% of active trials and 11.3% of recruiting trials in the city as well as 59.8% and 62.2% of the University of Minnesota’s active and recruiting trials alone, respectively. Finally, Minnesota Oncology has a total of 457 active trials (177, or 38.7%, recruiting), making up 7.7% and 6.6% of active and recruiting trials in Minneapolis, respectively2. These trends indicate that not only is Minneapolis as a whole maturing in trial volume to make way for other markets, but perhaps that the University of Minnesota is doing the same within the city itself.**
Minneapolis is, again, performing quite well in the clinical trial industry, with a trial volume that exceeds expectations when considering its population. Although University of Minnesota Health has historically been the top performer in Minneapolis, its landscape features several others, including nine health systems and thirteen individual locations that had at least 100 active trials last year1. Though Minneapolis appears to be maturing and making way for more rapidly-scaling markets in the realm of clinical trials, its contributions are not and do not figure to be insignificant in the future.
To follow the clinical trial landscape series, visit the TrialJourney Clinical Trials Landscape
*Active in 2018 = Active at any point in 2018 (Start date of study is before 12/31/2018 and end date is after 1/1/2018)
**As part of our ongoing quality assurance process, we've enhanced and improved our trial accounting algorithm in order to capture clinical trials with inconclusive and/or unstated completion dates.