In response to the unique, unprecedented challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has put upon the clinical research industry, Advarra has made several resources available to the community at no charge. In offering up the tools for free, the company said it hopes to alleviate burdens, clear obstacles and provide readily available guidance on issues caused by the virus.
The complimentary resources offered by the Columbia, MD-based company include free-of-charge transfer of institutional review board (IRB) services, access to an updated version of its Forte eRegulatory management software, its streamlined eReg software, and 'Ask Advarra' repository for guidance on emerging concerns brought about by COVID-19 developments.
Scott Uebele, Advarra CFO, told Outsourcing-Pharma that because the company’s mission focuses on advancing human health, offering these resources to the clinical research industry is both a needed action and a gesture of goodwill.
“This is the moment to dig in and help out,” he said. “Advarra subject matter experts—from IRB chairs and infectious disease specialists, to regulatory consultants and gene therapy experts—have been able to address each unique question submitted from the research community through our Ask Advarra page.”
Uebele added that the company is loading the information about COVID-19 on its centralized Coronavirus Guidance webpage, so that it can be shared widely to aid researchers.
Benefiting the industry
Uebele told us the free resources potentially can benefit researchers, their institutions, sponsors and contract research organizations (CROs), whether they are chasing solutions for COVID-19 or are concerned by the virus’s potential impact on other projects.
“Our hope is that all people will benefit from our help in enabling research to move forward,” he said. “The free transfer of oversight can be seen as a temporary solution for studies impacted by local IRBs that are hampered by campus closures or central IRBs who lack virtual and telework capabilities since Advarra has remained fully operational.
Uebele also said that when the industry has returned to normalcy after the current crisis, users that have transferred IRB oversight will be able to transfer studies back, if they opt to.
Robann Cunningham, Advarra’s chief commercial officer, said the company had noted an uptick in the amount of COVID-19-related research they had been reviewing, but wanted to do more.
“COVID-19 has not adversely impacted Advarra’s business thanks to our virtual capabilities, and we feel it is our responsibility to give back since we have the expertise, depth of resources, and technology to keep research moving forward during these challenging times,” she said.
The resources Advarra is offering during the COVID-19 crisis include:
- Transfer of IRB oversight: to prevent the need to close studies, the company is offering free transfer to the end of 2020.
- eReg Lite: the free version of its eRegulatory software also will be available until the end of the year.
- Support and online resources: these include the Ask Advarra online forum and dedicated Coronavirus Guidance webpage.
- Virtual support and counseling: the company is offering the help of its specialized staff to sponsors, CROs and sites.
In addition to the above-mentioned resources, the company is offering a COVID-19 webinar on Thursday, April 16. The online event will feature presentations from various institutions and the company’s leadership.