Decentralized trial specialist Science 37 plans to work with Signant Health to expand the reach and capabilities of decentralized trials for central nervous system (CNS) research. The goals of the partnership are to enable more trial activity to take place at patients’ homes and away from sites, ease the participants’ burden of participation, and increase telepsychiatry services.
Steve Geffon, Science 37’s chief commercial officer, told Outsourcing-Pharma that CNS patients face a unique set of obstacles when it comes to trial participation.
“According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated one in five US adults experience a mental illness but despite this high prevalence, only 43% of those affected receive mental health services,” Geffon explained. “The reasons are multifold and include stigma and access to care. A similar situation exists for mental health clinical trials; an estimated 90% of the population lacks access to traditional brick-and-mortar clinical trial sites. This impacts patient diversity, recruitment, and retention in clinical studies.”
The collaboration brings together Science 37’s range of services for decentralized trials with Signant’s data collection technologies. Science 37 brings to the table its network of patients, telemedicine investigators, central raters, mobile nurses, and technology platform; Signant’s contributions electronic clinical outcomes assessment (eCOA) software, rater training, randomized and trial supply management (RTSM) technology, and scientific expertise in the CNS space.
Geffon said increased use of telehealth for psychiatric services stands to greatly benefit patients and researchers alike, especially considering the larger tendency of mental illnesses to go un- or undertreated.
“Being able to support patients from the comfort of their home with a virtual telepsychiatry visit enables access for patients to new and innovative treatments, without stigma or burdens of traveling to a traditional investigator site,” he said. “Patients can participate from anywhere, on their schedule, and in a private setting.”
Geffon added that the company has seen a marked increase in patient interest thanks to fully decentralized trials, which result in up to 20-times faster recruitment compared to traditional sites.
Roger Smith, Signant Health CEO said the current challenges faced by the clinical research industry have made decentralized trials more important than ever.
“Out of necessity, our industry has accelerated the pathway to digitally enabled clinical trials,” said Smith. “That’s why we are proud to partner with Science 37 and help all clinical trial stakeholders continue the progress we have collectively made in clinical trial conduct.”