Dispatches from PCT Europe

Apple and Google needed to make sense of growing clinical data mass, say experts

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tech gianta Apple and Google have already done the R&D to disect the growing mass of clinical data which will drive future clinical trials
Tech gianta Apple and Google have already done the R&D to disect the growing mass of clinical data which will drive future clinical trials

Related tags: Clinical trial

With data becoming growingly important in clinical trials, CROs and sponsors must embrace companies like Apple and Google to manage it, say panellists at PCT Europe.

Technology allowing clinical study monitors to cherry-pick the most relevant patients and access their data in real time already exists, a panel of outsourcing experts agreed at PCT Europe in Hamburg yesterday, but CROs and sponsors are reluctant to use it.

Graham Belgiane, Head of Global Clinical Development at Grunenthal, said industry is “on the cusp”​ of using such data integration tools to optimise trials but with regulations not fully in place “no one wants to be the first to take on these innovations."

“The technology is there, and it is becoming more patient-centric,”​ said Senior Vice President Business Development at INC Research, Christian Tucat. However, “we are awash with data but what will we do with it?” ​he added.

“There are more and more data points, biometrics and capturing tools, but the biggest challenge we have is how to read and interpret it all.”

Don't be scared of tech giants

While there are a number of companies which focus on managing clinical trial data, the panel agreed industry will have to work with “the Googles and Apples of this world,”​ as President of inVentiv’s Strategic Resourcing Group continued.

“These companies will enter this sector to help implement the many moving pieces of clinical trials,”​ he told the room. “We may be scared of big, powerful tech firms but we have to embrace them and treat them as part of our own industry.”

Already Apple and Google have begun investing in the sector. The former’s ResearchKit is open source software to help medical researchers create data-capturing apps using an iPhone, while Google has launched​ its own wristband to collect patient data.

Barbara Tardiff who heads up Pfizer’s worldwide R&D added these companies have been carrying out R&D in this field for years, and will be able to calculate all this data for pharma.

Some sponsors and CROs have already begun working with these tech giants, such as Quintiles​ who recently added its own coding to the ResearchKit and Biogen Idec​ which is developing a wearable to analyse multiple sclerosis patients with Google X.

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