Imperial’s team attended the annual SCOPE Summit in Orlando, where they spoke with hundreds of clinical trials industry colleagues and attended talks and workshops.
In this post, Imperial team members Dan McDonald, Imogen Cheese, and Ted Corrigan tell us what they found noteworthy at SCOPE.
The Clinical Trials Industry is Thriving Post-COVID
Dan McDonald told us attendance had clearly increased since last year. “An obvious indicator was the size and layout of the space needed for the opening night cocktail reception,” he said. “It was double the size of last year and full. The industry is definitely 100 percent back out there. This includes the sponsor companies, who were the last to lift travel restrictions on their teams. All the major players were there, plus many fledgling companies and newer entries into the market.”
Dan said recruitment was again in the spotlight, with diversity as the primary area of focus for the clinical trials industry. “The need to enroll diverse patient populations has seemed to give patient recruitment firms a new lease on life while also providing an entry point for decentralized trials and other novel companies,” he said. Dan singled out two companies doing important work: Javara, which provides clinical research infrastructure and operations for community health networks that support diverse and underserved patient populations, and Emvenio, which brings trials to patients via mobile and telehealth technology.
Hybrid Trial Design
Imogen Cheese said one of SCOPE’s hot topics was hybrid trial design. “A new type of decentralized trial is evolving,” she said, “and along with it, the importance to fully utilize equipment and resources in a unique way – taking it to the patients or tailoring it to minimize the patient burden.”
One of Imogen’s favorite sessions at SCOPE was presented by Caroline Jackson of mdgroup, who shared information from a Phase 1 study in a rare disease model. “The study team had tests and centrifuges taking place in participants’ homes. It was groundbreaking, a true look into the future of trials,” Imogen said. (Dan interviewed Caroline along with Mary Jo Lamberti of Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development and Rick O’Hara of Endo Pharmaceuticals for his Executive Interview Series; see what they had to say below.)
Technology in the Driver’s Seat
A recurring theme at SCOPE was the latest tools technology brings to the clinical trials industry. Ted Corrigan was interested to see how decentralized trials were evolving. “Thanks to technology, conducting trials where the patient wants is a reality. The patient-centric focus is coming to life as patients are opting to conduct trial activities where they feel the most comfortable: from the patient’s home to their doctor’s office, local hospital, pharmacy, and even the grocery store,” he said. “The patient may have many different reasons to choose a location simply based on the therapy, their age, space available for testing equipment, and travel preferences. This evolution was on full display at SCOPE.”
Imogen watched a demo of Medable’s novel e-consent solution. ‘It was enlightening to see how far the technology has come and to learn that the industry, at last, is adopting this approach to patient education and consent,” she said. “The ability to weave in the normal black and white content of an ICF, and rich media, along with links to other tools and resources, illustrations, guides, with save and return features, shows us the future is bright for efficiency, proper consent, and reconsent.”
Imogen was impressed with one of Pfizer’s recent awareness and engagement initiatives. The company sent a gift to every patient that participated in its Covid vaccine clinical trials—a card, a certificate, and a medal. Pfizer received an honorary mention at the SCOPE awards ceremony for this initiative. “This was a sizeable expense, and it represents a dedicated investment in making participants feel appreciated,” Imogen said. “It is important to thank the patients who participate in clinical trials, yet it doesn’t always happen.”
Imogen added: “The groundbreaking nature of studies conducted during the Covid pandemic and lockdowns reinforced to all in our industry that there are patients out there who want to take part in trials. Finding them, keeping them engaged, and thanking them afterward is every bit as important as the more routine or mundane elements of the trial, such as data collection.”
The team reports that SCOPE attendees expressed interest in Imperial’s trial support services, including study and site print materials and translations. They were also eager to discuss how Imperial’s overall linear solution could make a difference in the many areas where they are struggling. There was much interest in Imperial’s streamlined approach and how it can drive down costs and improve time efficiencies.
Imogen said, “Many sponsors and CROs have been using the same vendors for three to four years, especially through the Covid lockdowns. They now realize that the solution they have isn’t working in today’s changing, fast-paced, hybrid style of trial delivery.”
If you didn’t get a chance to see us at SCOPE, now is a great time to get in touch. Contact us to talk about how the Imperial single workstream can lighten your load, how printed materials can streamline your study, and how our logistics team will get your materials to their global destinations.