Parexel sets its sights on stroke

By Phil Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Clinical trial Pharmaceutical industry Us

Parexel has made a bold foray into the troublesome arena of stroke drug development via an alliance with Safe Implementation of Treatments in Stroke (SITS) International, an international network of clinical sites geared up to recruit stroke patients.

Stroke has proved one of the most intractable of disease targets for the pharmaceutical industry, with a long list of drug candidates that have entered clinical trials yet failed to live up to their early promise, making the category a graveyard for drug R&D.

Despite a considerable investment by the drug industry in the last 20 years, there is still only one drug, the thrombolytic Activase (alteplase) developed by US biotechnology major Genentech's Activase (alteplase), registered for treating stroke patients, while Pfizer’s cholesterol-lowering Lipitor (atorvastatin) has also been approved to prevent stroke in high-risk patients. A recently-published report from Decision Resources' found that despite this huge unmet medical need, there are few candidates in the pipeline. Drug treatment rates in this area are therefore likely to grow less than 1% per year through 2016, it concluded.

Parexel believes there is merit in the new alliance, however, claiming that “biopharmaceutical companies are turning to Parexel with respect to an increasing number of clinical programmes focused on advancing new stroke treatments.​”

The new agreement gives Parexel access to more than 800 investigator sites located in 40 countries, which are dedicated to the treatment of patients suffering from acute stroke and to the conduct of Phase II - IV stroke-related clinical studies.

Mark Goldberg, the contract research organisation’s chief operating officer, said that SITS will help the company provide “accelerated study start-up and patient recruitment​” for customers wishing to run stroke studies.

Data from the US drug industry body the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) indicates that there are currently 20 compounds in clinical trials for stroke.

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