Google's life sciences sister plugs Big Pharma into the mainstream in a digital overhaul of the clinical trial business
Can the globally influential Google revolutionize the multibillion-dollar clinical trial business?
Some of the biggest pharmas out there think so, looking to Google’s sister outfit Verily — operating under Alphabet, the parent company — to guide the industry into the digital age with its extraordinary reach into the lives of billions of people on the planet.
This morning, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi and Otsuka all lined up to jump on the Project Baseline platform at the Google-related life sciences division, looking to employ the digital Goliath’s tech services in recruiting patients and organizing the mass of data coming out of the global trial system.
Building on Baseline’s initial plans to analyze data on 10,000 volunteers, the Google operation is now looking to steer people to drug studies as they search for more information on the diseases that plague them. That can extend Big Pharma’s reach — and influence — into millions of households.
Just how big is that reach? One recent assessment concluded that Google controls 90% of the search engine market, with 63,000 searches per second, while the average person makes 3 to 4 searches per day. And healthcare is one of their biggest single focuses.
This initiative is happening at a time the FDA has been encouraging a fresh look at the way trials are designed and executed, looking to shorten the development path for the most promising therapies — or triggering a fast execution of the weakest drug candidates.
For all the talk about change, though, the development pathway for new drugs has largely stuck with a traditional gold standard in use for years. Verily will see if it can steer a new direction, and that has the potential to make for some dramatic changes in the CRO world.
“Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer and Sanofi have been early adopters of advanced technology and digital tools to improve clinical research operations, and together we’re taking another step towards making research accessible and generating evidence to inform better treatments and care,” noted Verily CMO Jessica Mega in a prepared statement.
Image Source: Sipa USA via AP