While the regulations do not prohibit direct sponsor-IRB contacts, the sponsor-IRB interaction customarily occurs through the investigator who conducts the clinical study. The clinical investigator generally provides the communication link between the IRB and the sponsor. Such linkage is agreed to by the sponsors and investigators when they sign forms FDA 1571 and FDA 1572, respectively, for drug and biologic studies or an investigator agreement for device studies.
There are occasions when direct communication between the IRB and the sponsor may facilitate resolution of concerns about study procedures or specific wording in an informed consent document. The clinical investigator should be kept apprised of the discussion.