I’m just back from DPharm 2016 in Boston, where I had the pleasure of kicking off this year’s DPharm Idol competition. DPharm Idol is where a select group of companies present what they believe to be a disruptive service or technology to the traditional clinical trial process. As last year’s DPharm Idol “Disruptive Innovator of the Year,” I was given the honor of presenting this year’s companies and providing an update on what Science 37 has been up to for the past year – and what a year it’s been!
When I stood on the DPharm Idol stage in 2015, we were early in our journey to completely reshaping the way clinical research is conducted. Our team numbered 12 employees. We were just beginning to build the technology platform that enables our clinical trial operating model – the metasite™. We were in the midst of a rare disease trial that would eventually become a robust proof of concept.
We’ve made great progress over the past year in our quest to help bring innovative treatments to market faster:
- The Science 37 team now numbers more than 100 people, across clinical operations, patient engagement, physicians and technology development teams.
- We have more than 10 active clients representing the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries.
- We have 8 clinical trials open, with 5 more on the way before the end of the year.
- And we just launched an innovative new trial with skin health-focused biotech, AOBiome, that marks the first time that smartphones are being used to completely collect patient data.
I am incredibly proud of what the team has accomplished in 2016. And, what is most exciting to me is what we will accomplish in 2017. We have a great story to tell that will inspire others to join us in pushing the boundaries of clinical research to make patients’ lives better. Our successes can help bring a new reality to efforts aimed at reforming the costly, time-eating traditional clinical trial process, ultimately bringing life-saving treatments to market more quickly.
For example, Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot is one of the nation’s most important medical research initiatives and will require that the industry itself embrace the act of greater purpose. Science 37 has the opportunity to lead in this amazing challenge, and as we gather more data, and assess what works and why, we will have more knowledge to share that can help make personalized medicine a reality for all people with cancer. But what else can we all do to help?
- Increase access to and awareness of clinical trials
- While the issue of clinical trial recruitment and retention is largely about geography, it is also about opportunity awareness, patient satisfaction and trust. We can, and must, use available technology to remove geographic barriers and make trials more accessible to patients.
- Clear bureaucratic hurdles to let science happen
- While almost every segment of healthcare is being disrupted by technology, empowered consumers, and data analytics, the clinical research process has been slow to innovate and adapt. When it comes to delivering solutions to healthcare challenges, we know that today the status quo won’t get us anywhere.
- Make patients partners in healthcare
- Science 37 believes in people-powered science and radical collaboration. By engaging patients from the start of the discovery process, and providing them with real-time access to their care team, data, and support resources, we can help accelerate medical discoveries and treatments.
But whatever the industry or field, challenging convention doesn’t happen without some risk. And if we are going to make a difference, if we are going to turn how we think about clinical trials upside down, we must adopt a 21st Century mindset that breaks down competitive and bureaucratic silos to drive collaboration, learning, treatments, and cures – not only in 2017, but every year.