Collaborations, Drug Development

Novartis joins forces with LA tech company Science 37 to launch virtual clinical trials

Novartis is pairing up with a Los Angeles tech company to launch 10 virtual clinical trials, in which patients will use cell phones to participate rather than traveling to hospitals and clinics.

The pharma giant is using tech made by Science 37, a software company that connects patients to researchers via mobile devices and telemedicine services.

Novartis was an early investor in Science 37 and is not new to the idea of virtual trials. Novartis owns 10% of Science 37 after joining its $29 million financing round with Sanofi, Amgen, Google, and others last April.

Novartis already has several “site-less” trials in progress, including ones for cluster headaches and NASH.

Vas Narasimhan, the CEO who took over Novartis in February, has laid out plans to deploy more tech to trim costs amid industry-wide concerns about spending versus ROI.

Rob Kowalski

Novartis is set to begin the 10 new trials later this year in the US, in dermatology, neuroscience, and cancer.

“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,” Rob Kowalski, ad interim head of global drug development and CMO at Novartis, said in a statement. “With our shared vision of futuristic trials enabled by technology, we’re excited to expand our collaboration with Science 37 to pioneer a new, patient-centric research model.”

Image: Novartis in Basel, Switzerland. SHUTTERSTOCK

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