Foundation Medicine and decentralized clinical trials company Science 37 announced today they will partner to help increase enrollment of cancer patients in appropriate clinical trials.
The deal is one of many ongoing efforts within the oncology clinical trials space that seeks to improve the very low rate of patient enrollment, which sees only about 5% of eligible patients participating in clinical trials. And as potential new therapies increasingly address rare cancers, roughly 80% of clinical studies globally fail to enroll enough patients within a pharma sponsor’s desired timeline, according to a 2020 report published in Perspectives in Clinical Research.
“Many advanced cancer patients are unable to travel to or visit in-person clinical trials sites, so it’s critical that we work across the ecosystem towards new and innovative solutions to improve access to clinical trials regardless of a patient’s location,” said Jonathan Cotliar, CMO of Science 37, in a press release. “Combining our operating system with Foundation Medicine’s precision oncology expertise sets us on an exciting path with the goal of accelerating treatment discovery while bringing the research directly to patients.”
Founded in 2014, Science 37 takes a “technology-first” approach to helping pharma and biotech sponsors manage decentralized trials. Its platform enables “workflow orchestration, evidence generation and data harmonization on a unified, platform—configurable to enable any studies and fused with our expansive networks of telemedicine investigators, mobile nurses, remote coordinators, patient communities and connected devices,” according to information posted on the company’s website.
The company, which announced plans earlier this year to go public via a business combination with LifeSci Acquisition II Corp., believes it is positioned well to support the growth of decentralized clinical trials. According to internal research the company published in its DCT OS Report, 55% of clinical trials that had opened before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic moved to some form of a decentralized model in order to continue with the studies.
Further, the report showed that 95% of pharma executives who responded to the Science 37 survey believe that clinical trials won’t go back to pre-pandemic levels of site-based clinical trial development, with 80% noting that their companies planned to employ some elements of decentralized trials in the coming year. Tellingly, 60% also said their companies lacked the internal capabilities to put in place any of the elements needed for a decentralized study.
“This survey showcases the advances of the biopharmaceutical industry to rapidly adjust during the pandemic and more quickly adopt the patient-centric model we have been advocating since our founding in 2014,” said David Coman, CEO of Science 37. “It’s exciting to see, and yet it highlights the urgent need for best-in-class technology that can enable evidence generation and connectivity to an ecosystem of comprehensive networks of patients, telemedicine investigators, mobile nurses, and remote coordinators able to harmonize data from a variety of sources.”
For Foundation Medicine, the collaboration with Science 37 broadens the reach of its patient-matching service offering and positions it to be a leading player within the diagnostic space of improving enrollment rates.
“Beyond providing high quality genomic profiling to support informed decision making, we’re committed to empowering practitioners to act on those decisions by identifying personalized treatment options, including clinical trials,” said Brian Alexander, CEO of Foundation Medicine.
“Through this partnership with Science 37, leveraging our combined assets and expertise, our goal is to improve access to clinical trials for patients who aren’t frequently able to participate. As we explore this decentralized approach to research, we hope to continue innovating on this model for other clinical programs in the future.”