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December 28, 2022

Life science trend tracker #4

What’s new in life science, and how should companies respond?

Our regular trend tracker articles explore the latest news and developments in life science, and how they might affect companies like yours. In this fast-paced, volatile industry, changing market conditions, emerging technologies, and even socio-political factors can mean the difference between success and failure, so take a look at the latest life science trends for December 2022 and what they might mean for you.

Decentralized clinical trials continue to grow

Decentralized clinical trials rose to prominence during the peak of COVID-19 restrictions, but have since continued to propagate amidst demand for more patient-centric experiences. This month, Vial – a CRO startup specializing in clinical trial services for biotech companies – announced a Series B raise of $67 million, taking its total funding past $100 million. Vial was founded in 2020 as a response to pandemic-related challenges to in-person clinical trials, but this latest round of funding proves that decentralized trials are only increasing in popularity.

Clinical trials remain an area where life science organizations can make significant gains in terms of patient centricity, while decentralization also promises to enable “faster, cheaper trials” in the words of Vial CEO Simon Burns.

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IT contributes to insight gap issue

The insights gap – the difficulty or inability of life science teams to gather, share, and apply data and thus turn it into insights – is a costly problem, with incomplete or inaccurate information contributing to billions of dollars in lost time and revenue. A recent survey of life science IT executives suggests that a surfeit of complex IT systems could be contributing to the insight gap problem. 88% of respondents claimed their work was hampered by an excess of IT systems, while an incredible 60% of hospitals and health systems said they use 50 or more software solutions for healthcare operations alone.

The value of an integrated insights management platform that cuts through IT complexity – rather than contributing to it – is clear to see.

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Representation remains an issue for clinical trials

Diversity in clinical trials is a long-standing issue. According to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, fewer than 10% of cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials are racial or ethnic minorities. Women and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds remain notably underrepresented, too. Now, a first-of-its-kind advocacy report from Pharmaphorum has revealed significant underrepresentation of Central and Eastern European (CEE) patients in myeloma clinical trials. There are currently more than 3,000 myeloma trials worldwide, but only 6% of these include patients from CEE countries.

Pharmaphorum identifies several barriers to participation, including structural issues and a lack of trust between patients and physicians. There is no magic bullet to fix healthcare inequality, but technology is helping to bridge the gap for underrepresented communities in clinical trials and beyond.

Further resources

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