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Alliance with patient network won't replace CRO partnerships, says Genentech

Dan Stanton

By Dan Stanton+

Last updated on 14-Apr-2014 at 09:29 GMT2014-04-14T09:29:48Z

Genentech teams with PatientsLikeMe to develop patient data platform

Genentech teams with PatientsLikeMe to develop patient data platform

Genentech says its collaboration with PatientsLikeMe will enable more effective clinical trial recruitment but will not affect its partnerships with CROs.

The five-year deal, of which financial details were not divulged, sees Roche subsidiary Genentech working with the patient network group to develop a technological platform for data exchange and potentially new research methodologies.

As part of the agreement, the biopharma firm will gain access to the PatientsLikeMe clinical trial awareness tool, which allows patients to learn about clinical trials whilst providing “more effective clinical trial recruitment,” Genentech spokesperson Charlotte Arnold told

The technology matches patients to appropriate trials being conducted in their area using data from, enabling trial investigators see and search for eligible patients that match their criteria. While this will help Genentech connect with patients it “will not replace traditional clinical trials or the CRO role supporting clinical trials” according to Arnold.

“We hope that PatientsLikeMe's unique data set will provide us better insight into the patient experience with disease and treatments and we hope this will allow us to be more patient-centric in our decision making,” adding Genetech continues to work with several CROs supporting clinical trials both globally and locally.

On top of patient recruitment, the agreement is intended to support Genentech by providing cross-sectional research and broader discovery of patient insights, enhanced customized research capabilities, and focused research projects to evaluate and develop new medical evidence, she said.

First of many?

This is “the first broad research collaboration between PatientsLikeMe and a pharmaceutical company”, PatientsLikeMe Co-Founder and President Ben Heywood told this publication.

However, such a deal is not exclusive, he continued, adding Genentech is “the first but not the only pharma company that will have global access to the data shared” through the site.

For its recruitment service, PatientsLikeMe already boasts companies such as Biogen Idec, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck & Co. and Novartis on its books.

“When a pharma partner purchases our clinical trial recruitment service, PatientsLikeMe messages potentially eligible patients about the trial through a targeted email campaign,” Heywood said.

“We’ve been supporting pharma partners for years through that program and it’s one they find is cost-effective, targeted and well-received by the people they want in their trials. We're working on an enhanced version of this service that will help with design, recruitment and fulfilment of trials.”

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