Trial Scout

Phoenix, AZ

In Phoenix, Mayo Clinic Towers Over All In Conducting Clinical Trials

Written by Jack Beecher, TrialScout Data Analyst

“The clinical trials landscape in Phoenix as described by the TrialScout dataset shows the unmistakeable effect of Mayo Clinic's focus on high quality research, while clearly showing there are strong alternatives in the region as well,” said Dr. Irfan Khan, CEO of Circuit Clinical. “Our hope is that this information is of use to everyone involved in the healthcare spectrum, from administrators to patients, as we strive to increase access to and awareness of clinical research as a care option."

Phoenix was ranked by Nielsen as the 12th-largest designated market area (DMA) in the country in 20172 and has an estimated population of 4,737,270 3. Despite this, more clinical trials have been conducted in several cities with both smaller populations and lower DMA ranks than Phoenix, according to TrialScout™, a powerful and dynamic platform that helps patients find, choose, and rate their clinical trial experiences. These cities include San Diego (with an estimated population of 3,140,069), Raleigh (with about 2,238,315), Columbus (2,509,850), St. Louis (2,909,777), Denver (3,572,798), and Minneapolis (3,977,790)1,2,3,4.

Distribution of Clinical Trials per Zip Code1

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An estimated 9,738 clinical trials have been conducted in Phoenix within the past 15 years. Phoenix’s most comparable cities with respect to study volume over the past fifteen years include Pittsburgh (with an estimated 8,832), Portland (about 9,172), Tampa (about 9,597), San Diego (about 9,776), and Raleigh (about 10,699)1. Phoenix’s population exceeds that of all of these cities; notably, it is more than twice that of Raleigh’s, yet has fewer trials3,4. Seattle is relatively similar to Phoenix in population, yet it boasts almost 7,000 more studies over the same timespan than Phoenix, with an estimated 16,4751,3,4.

Within Phoenix, the Mayo Clinic conducts the most clinical trials, accounting for more than a quarter of all trials in the city in 20181. The Mayo Clinic also more than doubled the totals of the second-most active system in Phoenix last year, with approximately 514 active studies versus 214 for Banner Health1. Phoenix’s clinical trials are concentrated among a relatively small number of health systems; the five most active systems (listed below) accounted for about 57.4% of its trials in 20181:

Clinical Trials in Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale CBSA (2018)1

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10 Years of the Top 5 Clinical Trial Hospitals in Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale CBSA (2018)1

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Interestingly, only three individual locations in Phoenix conducted more than 100 trials in 2018: the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, and Phoenix Children’s Hospital1. Further, a total of only fourteen locations in Phoenix conducted 30 or more clinical trials in 20181. Aside from the three aforementioned hospitals (which had 301, 212, and 134 active trials last year, respectively), other notable locations in Phoenix include St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, the HonorHealth Research Institute at HonorHealth Scottsdale Shea Medical Center, the Barrow Neurological Institute, the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, and the Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix1. Several of these sites have shown demonstrable trial growth as well; of note, the Mayo Clinic Hospital grew from approximately 57 active studies in 2008 to 212 in 2018, Phoenix Children’s Hospital from 66 to 134 over the same time span, the HonorHealth Shea Research Institute from two in 2009 to 77 in 2018, and the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert from a single study in 2010 to 70 in 20181.

Alternative Clinical Centers in Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale CBSA (2018)1

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Among the individual, non-hospital locations outside of health systems, the Barrow Neurological Institute reigns supreme with 75 active studies conducted last year. The next most active of these sites include Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates in Paradise Valley with 45, Arizona Oncology at Phoenix’s Biltmore Cancer Center with 37, Ironwood Cancer and Research Center in Chandler with 31, and 21st Century Neurology with 27. The next tier then includes Elite Clinical Studies, Arizona Research Center, and Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates in Mesa, among others. Of these, the Paradise Valley location of Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates (9 active studies in 2008 to 45 in 2018), the aforementioned Ironwood location (3 in 2009 to 31 in 2018), and Barrow (46 in 2008 to 75 in 2018) have demonstrated the most growth over the past decade1.

More recent analyses of the TrialScout database indicate that Phoenix has increased its trial volume; while there were an estimated 1,972 active trials in the area last year, the current estimate of is 2,042 roughly halfway through 20191,2. Additionally, about 1,332 (65.2%) of these trials are currently recruiting for participation2. Interestingly, this growth has seemingly occurred outside of the Mayo Clinic, which has seen its volumes decrease2. The health system has decreased from 514 active trials in 2018 to 427 at the moment, 290 of which (68%) are recruiting. Further, the Scottsdale location has decreased from 301 trials in 2018 to 242 currently (with 151, or 62.4%, recruiting), whereas the Phoenix location has gone from 212 last year to 185 right now (139, or 75.1%, recruiting)1,2. These two hospitals currently account for 56.7% and 43.3% of the Mayo Clinic’s active trials, and 52.1% and 47.9% of the system’s recruiting trials in Phoenix, respectively2.

Despite these bright spots in Phoenix’s clinical trial landscape, the overall takeaway is that based on being a metropolitan area with as large of a population that it has, it would lead one to believe that more trials would have been conducted. Similar amounts of trials have been conducted in other cities with significantly smaller populations than Phoenix.


  1. Approximate attributable data as per the TrialScout database collapse as of 4/11/2019. All data is derived from https://clinicaltrials.gov/
  2. Approximate attributable data as per the TrialScout database collapse as of 6/6/2019. All data is derived from https://clinicaltrials.gov/
  3. Lyons Public Relations Broadcast PR Solutions. (2017). 2017 Nielsen DMA rankings – Full list. Retrieved from https://www.lyonspr.com/latest-nielsen-dma-rankings/
  4. S Census Bureau. (2018) New Census Bureau population estimates show Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington has the largest growth in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2018/popest-metro-county.html
  5. S. Census Bureau, Population Division. (2019). Annual estimates of the resident population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2018 – United States – Combined statistical area; and for Puerto Rico. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk

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