Boehringer Ingelheim expands virtual clinical trials capabilities

By Maggie Lynch contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/WhoWhanFoto)
(Image: Getty/WhoWhanFoto)

Related tags: Clinical trial, Virtual clinical trials, site-less study, Collaboration, Mobile technology, Software

Boehringer Ingelheim is scaling its virtual clinical trial capabilities through an agreement with the mobile technology company Science 37.

The collaboration agreement covers the use of Science 37’s proprietary software platform, Network Oriented Research Assistant (NORA), across the US, with plans to expand internationally.

According to the company, NORA uses mobile technology and telemedicine capabilities to run remote clinical trials.

Per the collaboration, Boehringer Ingelheim will have access to NORA’s ability to conduct end-to-end virtual or remote clinical trials as well as Science 37’s remote clinical trial model, Metasite. The remote trial model is able to connect researchers and trial participants during all stages of the clinical trial including screening and recruitment.

A spokesperson for Boehringer Ingelheim told us that NORA is a key tool in enabling virtual and remote trials which the company sees as the future of clinical research. "Remote trials will be the future of clinical research, whether it’s fully remote or a hybrid format. Only 3% of the global population in large countries participate in clinical research. Often a limitation is accessibility to a clinical site which offers this opportunity. By leveraging technology and decreasing the tangible burden of travel we can allow for greater participation from a multitude of participants across many different diverse patient populations," ​the spokesperson explained. 

Science 37 also will advise on study design, protocol development, and regulatory strategy for running clinical trials.

A spokesperson for Science 37 told us, “By licensing our technology to Boehringer Ingelheim, it gives us the opportunity to create an improved research experience for more patients, faster. Thus furthering our mission and helping accelerate research.”

According to Science 37, study participants can also reach study staff at any time through their mobile device, and mobile nurses are sent to the participant’s home to provide blood draws and other services when needed to ensure patient safety.

Novartis and Science 37​ also recently entered an agreement to blend virtual and traditional trial models together for 10 new trials. Through the collaboration, the two company’s utilized NORA to scale the “site-less” model.

Science 37 also entered a collaboration with drug maker UCB in 2017 in which UCB-sponsored studies​ utilized the same software platform, NORA, for site-less studies. 

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