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

Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan [via Bloomberg/Getty]

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