Pharma R&D Today
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The Role of Data in Propelling Clinical Trial Progress
Posted on April 1st, 2019 by Marnix Wieffer in Pharma R&D
Turning the tide on clinical trial approvals – can data provide a lifeline?
Despite life science companies pouring time and money into research, the majority of drugs in development never make it to market. In fact, a mere 14 percent of trials are successful, with the remaining 86 percent representing significant sunken costs. And while there are ways of creating positive outcomes out of drug development failures through repurposing programmes, it’s nevertheless vital for companies to increase the amount of successful clinical trials.
Achieving this goal means using data analysis to anticipate potential hurdles as early as possible. Today, researchers have access to vast amounts of data that can be a valuable tool in improving the design of clinical trials as a way to boost the rate of success.
A new wave of approvals?
One of the key data sources in this regard is genomic data – one of the fastest growing datasets in the world. As more genomic data becomes available to researchers, new discoveries about how medicines affect individual patients are being made, which could impact the amount of clinical trials that result in drugs going to market.
For example, recent research has found drugs could be more effective if they’re taken when the associated genes are most ‘active’. Almost half of genes (44 percent) have a daily cycle of activity, and existing medicines target about 12 percent of these genes. Ensuring medicines are taken at the most optimal time for the target gene could provide more successful clinical trials, as well as potentially reducing the amount of the drug needed or lessening side effects at the same dose.
Getting a head start with data
But access to this sort of data is only half the battle – data also needs to be in a usable and standardised format to be interpreted by researchers. This is where resources like Elsevier’s PharmaPendium are valuable. PharmaPendium enables researchers to compare data on drugs in similar classes, with similar structures and even similar targets. This data from PharmaPendium combined with other propriety genomic data is a vital element to help improve trial design.
This data-driven approach to clinical trials – using DDI information, pharmacokinetic data and drug safety knowledge, just some of the data sources in PharmaPendium – can help inform critical drug development decisions and have a significant impact on approvals. As we hurtle towards an age of precision medicine, using data to inform R&D and design successful clinical trials will become the norm, rather than a differentiator for the top pharma companies.
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