With decentralized trial adoption on the rise even before COVID-19 landed on the planet, sites and sponsors expressed interest in study technology better suited for the trial model. Syneos Health and Science 37 have announced a strategic partnership focused on solutions geared toward improving decentralized trials in a number of key areas.
Outsourcing-Pharma discussed the partnership, as well as the challenges created by the rapid evolution of decentralized studies, with two company leaders:
- Steve Geffon, chief commercial officer, Science 37
- Maria Fotiu, executive vice president of decentralized solutions, Syneos Health
OSP: Could you please talk about in general how technology collaborations like this benefit the companies involved, as well as their clients, pharma firms, patients, and other stakeholders?
Decentralization of clinical trials can help drive efficiency, increase speed, reduce cost and bring trials closer to the patient. Broader than just technology, this partnership will enhance decentralized clinical trial delivery—offering biopharmaceutical sponsors a unified, seamless technology platform to streamline workflow orchestration, real-world evidence generation, and data harmonization, along with the ability to activate the entire Science 37 Operating System which can enable crucial connections to their flexible, on-demand remote coordinators, patient communities, telemedicine investigators, mobile nurses and connected devices.
The collaboration aligns with Science 37’s mission to enable universal access to research without the limits of geography and helps Science 37 scale and bring more research opportunities to patients and providers.
Science 37 is part of the Syneos Health Dynamic Assembly network—an open ecosystem of best-in-breed data and technology collaborators committed to delivering fit-for-purpose solutions designed to strategically address the nuances of each customer engagement. Syneos Health joins Science 37’s CRO Certified program, helping enable CROs with expertise, knowledge sharing, and training support necessary to successfully deliver decentralized clinical studies.
Ultimately, this partnership helps patients by making research more accessible and enabling a more diverse, representative patient population so sponsors can accelerate the development of safe and efficacious treatments that impact patient lives. The partnership also powers operational process and data efficiencies to accelerate study start-up and enhance data monitoring capabilities.
OSP: How did Syneos and Science 37 come to work together?
Syneos Health and Science 37 share a vision to help improve operational efficiency, increase access to deliver a more representative patient populations, and speed the development of medicines for the patients who need them. As demand from our sponsors to find more innovative ways to decentralize study activities increased, Syneos Health and Science 37 began to collaborate to find innovative solutions to enable study continuity during the pandemic. This partnership formalizes our offerings for sponsors—enhancing and scaling the delivery of decentralized clinical and real-world studies.
As part of Science 37’s CRO Certification program, the partnership also enables cross-functional training on the Science 37 technology platform, shares decentralization solution expertise, and enhances commercial opportunities.
OSP: Please tell us the importance of boosting speed in clinical trials.
The industry’s biggest impediment to delivering clinical trials is participation. Too few patients (only ~ 8%) participate because of geography, time constraints, or other access barriers. Too few (only ~5%) providers participate because of the costly infrastructure needed to conduct research—limiting their ability to bring research as a care option for their patients.
This lack of participation can cause substantial delays for sponsors. Typically, more than 85% of studies are delayed due to slow enrollment or poor subject retention. The limits of access and participation also can impact a sponsors’ ability to find diverse patients, potentially impacting outcomes and study efficacy for underrepresented populations.
By leveraging technology, making research easier for patients and reducing some of the participation burdens, we’re able to more quickly enroll patients into studies. Science 37’s data has shown to enroll patients at a ten to 15 times faster rate than a traditional investigator site. With aspects of research being conducted virtually, there is also a higher likelihood to retain patients in studies which enables faster data collection to help speed overall study timelines.
Using technology and telemedicine can enable more providers to participate in research, which can expand the access to more patients and can foster and maintain crucial doctor-patient relationships that can enhance enrollment and retention.
Accelerating development and more quickly demonstrating a therapy’s safety and efficacy helps to save time for sponsors and brings better treatments for patients who need them to market faster.
OSP: What are the most important services and aspects of trial expertise that each brings to the table?
As the only fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization, Syneos Health brings a breadth of expertise, experience, and global scale. Decentralized solutions from Syneos Health combine deep behavioral and therapeutic insights, agile technologies, and operational excellence.
As the industry leader in decentralized clinical trials, Science 37’s premier technology platform makes clinical trials virtual—enabling seamless evidence generation such as eConsent, and ePROs and easy workflow orchestration with its flexible, on-demand network, comprised of patient communities, telemedicine investigators, mobile nurses, remote coordinators, and connected devices, strengthening clinical, and real-world effectiveness and yielding high-quality data collection.
OSP: Do you have anything you’d like to add about the partnership, industry collaboration, DCTs overall, or anything else?
This partnership demonstrates the power we have as an industry to collaborate and place patients at the center of clinical research—helping fuel access, increase diversity and speed the development of medicines. As Syneos Health CEO Alistair Macdonald said, “Increasing clinical trial access and diversity is a scientific, business, and ethical imperative as we continually look for ways to improve patient outcomes and eliminate healthcare disparities.”