San Francisco, CA— Some of the largest pharma companies are looking to Verily to recruit patients for clinical trials and help sort through the masses of health data available. Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) is Alphabet Inc.'s research organisation devoted to the study of life sciences — and they’ve forged a new partnership with pillars of the pharma space that has them poised to shake up clinical trial recruitment. 

Last month, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi and Otsuka announced they would be collaborating on Verily’s Project Baseline, an initiative to ‘map human health’. The project started with a study of the health data of 10,000 volunteers over the course of four years (a larger data pool with a wider range of data than previously collected). The study aims to understand why people transition from being generally healthy to sick.  

What’s in it for Pharma? – the promise of improved patient engagement in clinical trials

The Baseline Platform is designed to engage more patients and clinicians in research, increase the speed and ease of conducting studies and collect more comprehensive, higher quality data, including outside of the clinic. Verily describe it as ‘a more patient-centric, technology-enabled approach to research’. 

Not just clinical trial recruitment – Verily will help to speed up gathering of clinical evidence 

The partnership will also explore novel approaches to generating real-world evidence. The Baseline Platform will collect, organize and activate health information from electronic health records, wearables and other digital sources. Clinical studies will be launched across a range of therapy areas; cardiovascular disease, oncology, mental health, dermatology and diabetes. 

Why This Matters — 

“Clinical trials haven’t changed much since the 1960′s,” says Rod MacKenzie, chief development officer at Pfizer. 

Clinical trials have historically been costly processes that use outdated technologies. The industry, regulators and patient advocates have all agreed that the process is inefficient and needs to be updated to focus on patient needs. There have been a number of initiatives to introduce digital tech and data systems to streamline trials in recent years. 

This partnership will allow pharma companies to leverage the latest technologies from Google to reach patients in a more targeted way and get their most promising drugs approved more quickly. It’s not just about increasing the number of recruits; the technology will allow them to reach a more diverse range of people to take part in their trials.

Verily believes that by engaging more patients and clinicians in research, the speed and ease of conducting studies will be enhanced, and the data collected will be more comprehensive and of better quality.

About the Author:

Nick Murphy is a PR Account Manager and ‘Innovation champion’ at the Syneos Health London office. Nick acts as a link between the US Innovation team and London PR teams, helping to translate innovation resources into tangible actions for Global and EU clients. Working across multiple therapy areas, he is passionate about identifying new ways to engage with audiences.