The following is the final installment of the excerpted panel discussion, “Future Visions: Are We Heading to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory?,” that Saama Technologies’ Chief Strategy Officer Sagar Anisingaraju participated in on October 28 at MAGI’s Clinical Research Conference – 2019 West, in Las Vegas. The discussion was moderated by Jonathan Zung, Ph.D., member of Saama’s Clinical Board of Advisors and EVP, WCG.
Jonathan: What role will technology companies have in defining the landscape?
Technology companies play a key role in removing the barriers and skepticism to change. Tech companies should take a leadership role in encouraging pharma to conduct hackathons with internal data sets, participate in open innovation, facilitate collaborative proof of concepts, and define industry standards for data and research sharing. Data privacy and provenance are issues that tech companies should tackle, and for which they should offer solutions. “I want our innovation to be known and be leveraged, but want to be kept informed of how it is being used and want it to be leveraged with consent and right recognition.” This is a genuine and legitimate request from pharma. Tech companies should be able to address these concerns.
Jonathan: What 3 things need to be done today in order to shape the landscape for a trial in 2025?
Compared to a few years ago, we are seeing a significant adoption of technology and willingness to transform clinical studies. To accelerate this transformation, here are my thoughts on three things that need to be done today by pharma, CROs and tech companies to shape the landscape.
#1: Reduce or eliminate selection and adoption barriers: We see significant delays with the RFI, RFP and other internal process barriers that Big Pharma companies have put in place. While we understand the reasons for pharma using those stage gates, innovative technology adoptions need faster decision making processes and methods. Pharma should be more willing to replace these traditional methods of vendor evaluations with more modern, hackathon kind of approaches, and let the vendors prove their value proposition in weeks rather than in the months associated with current methods.
#2: Speedy access to data pipes from CROs for understanding of operational and planning aspects of past and ongoing studies is something that execs at CROs should be able to address. CROs today manage a critical system of record for clinical studies. Important operational data resides in their records. Systems of insights from tech companies need access to this data sooner than the current, archaic processes allow. CROs should take a leadership role in actively working with tech companies to certify and enable the data pipes.
#3: This is one area where tech companies should lead: defining the building blocks for clinical research sharing across pharma and across studies. A soft-chip or CPU with the insights from past clinical trials can be built if key pharma, tech and CROs come together. We call this a Clinical Neural Network. Every new study can take the representation aspects of past clinical trials with this Clinical Neural Network as a stepping stone, instead of starting from ground zero.
Moderator: Jonathan Zung:
Member of Saama’s Clinical Board of Advisors and EVP, WCG
Speaker: Sagar Anisingaraju:
Chief Strategy Officer of Saama Technologies.