Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer, Sanofi join Verily's Project Baseline

Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer and Sanofi have signed onto Verily’s Project Baseline, a program aimed at mapping out a baseline for human health. In the coming years, the pharma partners will carry out clinical studies using technology developed under Project Baseline, in disease areas such as cancer, mental health, diabetes, dermatology and heart disease. 

Verily kicked off Project Baseline in April 2017, with a health study geared to gather health data from 10,000 people over four years. Alongside partners Duke University and Stanford University, Verily set out to collect a “deep dataset” from each participant through clinical visits and interactive surveys and polls, and use that data to establish what it means to be healthy and how health transitions to disease. Since then, Verily has built the project into a “connected research ecosystem,” adding partnerships with academic research institutions, health systems, life sciences organizations and patient advocacy groups. 

Verily’s team has developed devices and analytical tools to keep patients engaged and support researchers, the company said in a statement. It has also built platforms to facilitate study enrollment and management, as well as to collect what it calls dynamic data, such as electronic health records, biometric data and self-reported information. 

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“If we are truly to achieve the realization of patient-centered care, we must advance innovative research methodologies that focus on the patient and their needs, values and lifestyles,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., chairman, Project Baseline Advisory Board. “Project Baseline, in collaboration with these innovative companies, is well-positioned to achieve this vision and have a transformative impact on research.” 

The hope is that its “connected ecosystem” will link patients to doctors and health systems, and clinical research to clinical practice. Its deals with Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer and Sanofi will boost this ecosystem and “could help foster greater scientific discovery” as the pharma companies work on “next-generation research and development programs,” Verily said. 

In addition to using Project Baseline’s evidence-generation tools to develop patient-centered clinical research programs, Verily and its pharma partners will work to increase the number and diversity of patients involved in clinical research. 

“Evidence generation through research is the backbone of improving health outcomes. We need to be inclusive and encourage diversity in research to truly understand health and disease, and to provide meaningful insights about new medicines, medical devices and digital health solutions,” said Jessica Mega, M.D., Verily’s chief medical and scientific officer, in the statement. “Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer and Sanofi have been early adopters of advanced technology and digital tools to improve clinical research operations, and together we’re taking another step towards making research accessible and generating evidence to inform better treatments and care.” 

“At Novartis we are advancing treatments that stand to change the course of disease, or even offer cures, but our ability to bring new medicines to patients quickly is often hampered by inefficient or limited participation in clinical trials,” said Badhri Srinivasan, head of global development operations at Novartis, in the statement. “By combining our complementary sets of expertise, we have the opportunity to develop a new trial recruitment model that gives patients and their physicians greater insight into the process of finding treatments for their disease, and how they can participate.”