Science 37, Novartis Sign Agreement to Advance Decentralized Clinical Trials

Proprietary technology helps overcome the problem of long travel distances for those taking part in clinical trials.

The idea of the “site-less” clinical trial got a boost today as Science 37 signed a strategic alliance with Novartis to support up to 10 new decentralized clinical trials over the next 3 years. This will increase the portfolio of Science 37’s propriety platform, which uses mobile technology and telemedicine to reach patients remotely and keep trials ongoing.

In a statement, Science 37 said the collaboration will allow US-based trials to launch in oncology, dermatology, and neuroscience during 2018.

“We are excited to deepen our relationship with an industry leader in innovative drug development like Novartis,” said Noah Craft, MD, PhD, and co-founder and CEO of Science 37. “We are thrilled to launch this strategic alliance to accelerate our patient-centered scientific work together across these new therapeutic areas.”

The need to travel long distances to clinical trial sites has long been cited a reason why only 3% to 5% of cancer patients take part in clinical trials, and why certain subgroups, including young adults and minorities, are underrepresented in trials. Overall, minorities account for less than 10% in clinical trials, and the share in some cancer trials can be less than 2%.

Science 37’s proprietary technology allows pharmaceutical researchers to make participation from home possible. Novartis already has site-less trials with Science 37 ongoing for investigational treatments for acne, cluster headaches and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, according to a statement from the pharmaceutical company.

“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 Chief Medical Officer, 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.”