The ‘virtual trials’ concept may not have been killed off by Pfizer’s REMOTE failure with inVentiv the latest to invest in 'at home' study capacity.
inVentiv Health Clinical - the unit formed after the acquisition of PharmaNet and i3 – has taken an equity stake in California, US-based Mytrus and established a ‘strategic commercial relationship’ focused on the latter’s electronic informed consent and online data submission technology.
Further details of the agreement were not disclosed beyond the usual claims of accelerated recruitment and improved access to patients that accompany most contract research organisation (CRO) investments in technology providers.
Mytrus hit the headlines in 2011 when it helped Pfizer launch REMOTE , an 'at home' clinical study of Detrol LA in the treatment of over active bladder.
In the trial patient data was collected online and through mobile phones with the 'virtual' model being touted as a way of reducing sponsors costs and the number of study sites required.
But despite a flurry of related announcements and other partnerships - Outsourcing-pharma.com met with several of the companies involved in REMOTE at DIA 2011 – the US leg of the trial did not achieve its recruitment goals and was halted.
Speaking at Partnerships in Clinical Trials in Orlando, Florida in 2012 Pfizer's senior director of clinical services, Miguel Orri, said: “[REMOTE] didn’t recruit” and suggested that his team’s focus on trial regulations rather than patient needs may have been the problem.
Pfizer has since stated that it could restart a modified version of the trial this year with simplified forms for patients designed to overcome the enrollment challenges that hampered the previous programme.
More generally inVentiv's investment in Mytrus is in keeping with comments the services firm made when it bought digital communications and social media company Kazaam Interactive last June when it said that pharmaceutical sponsors, patients and payers are becoming more ‘tech savy.’