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iBio Conference Reflection
Growing Trends and Concerns in the Industry

On April 24th, MRN's Business Development team attended the iBio conference in Rosemont, Illinois.  This event brought together industry thought leaders from various backgrounds across the US. Conversations focused on the importance of patient involvement; finding ways to bring the patient voice to the drug development process, as well as the changing attitudes in Washington, DC and what impact these changing conditions might have on the pharmaceutical industry.

Here, we highlight three insightful discussions during the 2017 iBio conference and their main takeaways:

Diversity in Clinical Trials and the Importance of Engagement and Underrepresented Communities

Dr. Neelum Aggarwal- Population health neurologist and clinical researcher (RUSH)

Dr. Paris Davis- PCORI project leader

Chris Reddick- VP Medical Professional Affairs, Takeda

This panel discussed a currently funded PCORI project taking place on the south side of Chicago and the need to better educate patients. The study is finding new methods to educate patients who have had a stroke or are at risk of stroke.

For this project, a group of researchers enlisted local pastors and ministers to help educate patients about the care they need, having identified religious leaders as trusted members of these at risk communities.  Chris Reddick, from Takeda, spoke about the company’s focus on involving patient advocacy groups and getting patient input when planning studies.  The company is actively looking for ways to do more community based clinical trials, ideally, including this model in more of their studies. 

It was recognized across all panellists that a community based clinical trial model adds value to both the sponsor and to the patients.  In building a more community based model, we are able to see the potential to include a more diverse patient population in a trial which means trial naïve sites may be called upon.  When running a trial, it’s easy to turn to the high yielding sites because of their ability to recruit a lot of patients.  While this may work to reach the numbers needed, many groups remain under represented, which is a problem that we must recognize and resolve.

Check out more about this study on Community Engagement for Early Recognition and Immediate Action in Stroke


Medtech CEO Plenary:

Scott Whitaker- president &CEO AdvaMed

John Greisch – president & CEO, Hill-Rom

Lester Knight – Founding partner, Roundtable Health Partners

Harry Rowland – co-founder & CEO, Endotronix

This interesting conversation focused on taxes, finances and the impact that policies, put in place by our government, have on the pharma industry. The panel featured a variety of experience levels, from a well-established organization, to a start-up, to a private equity firm that invests in mid-size companies. One of the most interesting comments of the conference came from this panel. Lester Knight ended the discussion by stating where investors should start putting their money, n his opinion, the next big investment opportunity is in companies that allow pharma to conduct hospital visits or perform healthcare related tasks at the home of the patient. This is a strong indication that MRN’s services fit with the growing trends of taking the trial to the patient.

See more about the benefits of this patient centric approach here: Benefits of Home Trial Support


Impact of End to End Evidence Management Across the Life Sciences Organization:

Tony Hebden: VP Health Economics and Outcomes Research, Abbvie

Walt Johnston, SVP Sales &Marketing, Urology and Hospital Markets, Astellas

Jeff Morgan, Specialist Leader, Deloitte

The majority of this discussion revolved around reducing fragmentation of communication internally within life science organizations, and how to create systems that allow for centralization of data.  Currently there is a growing need and effort to identify the best methods to quickly disseminate information, specifically data, to appropriate groups within a company.  Having a holistic view of information will allow each department throughout a company to make better decisions for the business and, ultimately, for the patients.   Not only is it important to disseminate information in a quick and effective way internally, but also externally to customers. The industry experts on the panel have seen a push for real world evidence as part of the project planning process and have seen that using historical data can influence future project set up through understanding ‘lessons learned’.  These panellists have seen an increased number of value based and outcomes based contracts in addition to inclusion of patient advocacy groups when planning projects.

See more about critical components for successful, value-based pharma contracts: Value-based contracts

It was fascinating to learn first-hand from leaders in the industry of growing trends and looming issues the pharmaceutical industry faces.  As a company that supports clinical trials, it’s incredibly important that we understand stressors that our clients feel and the ways these stressors effect their businesses. Home Trial Support will be increasingly used along with other solutions to provide a truly patient-centric clinical trial model exciting to see the increasing number of companies involving patient voice in protocol development and the strides to educate communities as we continue to support these forward thinking movements.

Posted by:
Laura Campbell
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