Five stories that grabbed readers’ attention in 2019

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Jirsak)
(Image: Getty/Jirsak)

Related tags IQVIA AbbVie Artificial intelligence

As we come to the close of 2019, Outsourcing-Pharma highlights the stories that made waves within our readership during the course of the year.

In no particular order, here are the five stories:

1. IQVIA’s acquisition of Linguamatics

It should be no surprise that when a company as large as Iqvia makes an acquisition, many are interested in the details. In this case, however, there were few details on offer and that may have been the reason for reader curiosity.

At the time, the financials of the deal were not revealed and Linguamatics was unable to provide further details on the nature of the deal.

What was known was the nature of Linguamatics business, which focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning – areas that have become hot topics within the industry, as will be seen in the further pieces within this list.

2. AbbVie predicts a tsunami of digital disruption

And that disruption is going to occur within clinical trials, the company suggests. The reason behind this is the amount of money that is needed to progress drugs through the clinic and how labor intensive it is.

As part of the piece, Rob Scott, chief medical officer at AbbVie, told Outsourcing-Pharma that he expects digital health elements to be introduced into all clinical trials within five years. In 10 years, automation will take over a lot of the manual work.

In addition, Brown anticipated the use of digital technology to provide researchers greater access to patients, aiding another tricky part of the process – the recruitment of patients.

3. Report reveals CROs struggling with staff retention

The headline figure from the report suggested that for seven of the last 10 years, turnover levels had been at or above 20% for the clinical research organization (CRO) industry.

The position most likely to lead to drop out within the industry was that of clinical monitors, with the role having a 25.5% turnover rate.

During its analysis, the report authors suggested that this could be linked to slow rate of salary growth over the last decade, which stood at 2.1% across the industry.

4. Artificial intelligence: The future of drug discovery

AI makes another appearance on the articles that drew the most interest, with a projection featured in the piece suggesting that its applications for drug discovery could create a $20bn (€18bn) industry by 2024.

The reason for this is the possibility to speed up the drug discovery process, which is notoriously slow and expensive.

When speaking with Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO of Insilico Medicine, he told Outsourcing-Pharma that the technology is able to take a protein target with a structure to an investigational new drug (IND) application-ready molecule in less than a year.

He added that he expects China to be a major driver of AI drug discovery, in order to ‘leapfrog’ forward to be able to quickly discover medicines.

5. The rise of the integrated research organization

The term ‘integrated research organization’ (IRO) was coined to describe the integration of research, through clinical trials, with the care that patients receive through healthcare systems. The idea behind this is to address the lack of available participants for clinical trials.

Rather than rely on specific research centers, Jennifer Byrne, CEO of Javara, suggested that research could be conducted across a whole healthcare organization.

However, the IRO would occupy a vital place within this network because of the difficulty of conducting research. Byrne stated, “Could the health organization conduct research on their own? Absolutely. Do they do it well on their own? In many cases, from a quantity and business results standpoint, no, not at all.”

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