Drugs in a Virtual World: The rise of digital health solutions in clinical trials | Summary and Q&A

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December 9, 2021
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Bessemer Venture Partners
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Drugs in a Virtual World: The rise of digital health solutions in clinical trials

TL;DR

COVID-19 has accelerated the transformation of the biopharma industry, particularly in the clinical trial space, due to changing participant preferences, cost pressures, and regulatory support for digital tools and technologies.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why is the clinical trial space considered a significant entrepreneurial opportunity?

Clinical trials are part of a strict, regulated process to bring drugs to market. With the urgent need for new treatments and vaccines, there is a potential for entrepreneurs to innovate and improve efficiency in the clinical trial value chain.

Q: How has COVID-19 influenced the preference of clinical research participants?

Due to the pandemic, many participants are unwilling to visit hospitals for trials. This has led to the adoption of telemedicine and at-home monitoring, which have shown high participant satisfaction rates and better results.

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of clinical trials?

The pandemic has put additional financial pressure on drug developers, with the cost of bringing a new drug to market estimated to be over $2.6 billion. New trial starts have declined, and ongoing trials have been delayed, costing millions of dollars per day.

Q: What regulatory changes have supported the use of digital tools in clinical trials?

The Cures Act 2.0, the digital health innovation plan, and FDA guidance have paved the way for digital tools and technologies in clinical trials. Decentralized trials, patient recruitment startups, remote patient monitoring tools, and real-world data analysis have all gained prominence.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The biotech and pharma sectors have become crucial in the fight against COVID-19, with opportunities for innovation and growth.

  • The clinical trial value chain faces challenges in areas such as supply chain, manufacturing, and sales.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique window of opportunity to restructure the clinical trial paradigm.

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