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The Basel-based pharmaceutical company Novartis has entered a strategic partnership with Science 37. The partners will conduct up to 10 virtual clinical trials over the next three years.
Virtual clinical trials are decentralized and can be carried out in a participant’s home or the local doctor’s office rather than in large hospitals thanks to digital technologies, explained Novartis in a statement.
Having previously invested in the Los Angeles-headquartered Science 37, Novartis has already conducted several virtual trials with the U.S. company.
Within the new strategic partnership, the two companies will conduct up to 10 clinical trials over the next three years. The studies, which will blend virtual and traditional models, will be in the fields of dermatology, neuroscience and oncology, and are expected to begin this year in the USA.
"Novartis aims to run studies in ways that overcome many of the barriers patients face when deciding whether or not to enroll in clinical trials, like long journeys or extensive time spent at hospitals or trial sites," commented Rob Kowalski, ad interim Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer at Novartis.
According to statistics from the Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), which Novartis cites, only two per cent of the eligible population in the USA participate in clinical trials.
By increasing its focus on virtual trials, the Basel pharmaceutical company hopes to integrate under-represented populations into the studies, thus improving the caliber and quantity of data available to support drug development.