Transforming Clinical Trials through Industry Collaboration

Rik van Mol, Vice President of Research and Development Strategy in Europe, Veeva Systems

Rik van Mol, Vice President of Research and Development Strategy in Europe, Veeva Systems

Heading into 2017, it was widely held that the biggest trend in life sciences would be increased industry collaboration. With the midpoint of the year upon us, it would seem indeed that collaboration has risen to a top strategic priority for many pharmaceutical and biotech companies whose leaders are working together more closely to overcome the many challenges facing the industry from the clinical to commercial stages.

One example of technology that is enabling the trend comes in the form of the recent integration of the Shared Investigator Platform (SIP), an initiative of the nonprofit TransCelerate BioPharma Inc. to facilitate investigative site collaboration with multiple clinical trial sponsors, with Veeva System’s Vault SiteExchange, a cloud application for helping sites consolidate study document requests, alerts, and notifications across sponsors enrolled in the SIP.

“TransCelerate is doing exciting work to promote enhanced industry collaboration and introduce efficient ways companies can accelerate treatments to market,” said Jennifer Goldsmith, senior vice president of Veeva Vault strategy. “We’re honored to work with TransCelerate and help clinical sites and sponsors effectively manage trial documentation to get medicine to patients more quickly.”

Beyond the work being done among TransCelerate’s gathering of global biopharmaceutical companies, another example of collaboration on a preclinical level is the European Lead Factory of the Innovative Medicines Initiative, which aims to create new chemistry based on crowd-sourced ideas and boost applicants’ drug discovery programs at no upfront costs. Yet another example is the public-private Accelerating Medicines Partnership linking the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with 10 biopharmaceutical companies and several nonprofit organizations.

What’s driving such efforts? According to Rik van Mol, vice president of research and development strategy in Europe for Veeva Systems, in an article to be published June 19 in Journal for Clinical Studies, “Finding patients and investigators to participate in studies is harder, and competition is intensifying among sponsors seeking to collect more data and differentiate their products in the marketplace. Consequently, data [are] collected from a variety of sources—in different formats—placing a heavier burden on companies to manage it all.”

Further, van Mol writes, “The importance of such industry collaborations is increasing. As the pace of innovation has accelerated, the number of clinical trials has risen dramatically—yet the time and effort to bring new treatments to market remains long and complex.”

Improvements to this situation will come from allowing investigators to spend less time on administrative tasks and focus more on clinical research, van Mol predicts. To that end, “A collaborative ecosystem in life sciences is urgent,” he notes. “Fortunately, [the SIP] is not only proof that technology has evolved to support a more unified clinical environment, but also signals a willingness within the industry to adopt common operational processes. In short, the global life sciences industry is ready—and technically able—to collaborate.”

Author: Gary Cramer