AstraZeneca launches new company to share digital clinical trial expertise with CROs, pharmas

AstraZeneca has launched a new company to allow CROs and fellow Big Pharmas to pay to access its tried-and-tested digital solutions for running clinical trials.

The standalone company, called Evinova, is launching with 300 team members selected from across AstraZeneca and spread among nine countries. The international reach reflects the fact that the Evinova tech has already been road-tested in AstraZeneca-sponsored trials conducted in over 40 countries.

Evinova will offer its services via a "drug development suite" based on the trial solutions that AstraZeneca is already using across all of its disease areas. Access to the platform will allow companies to deliver both traditional and decentralized or hybrid trials, including collecting data from connected medical devices in trial sites or from a patient’s home.

Beyond this, a "unified trial solution" will help CROs conduct virtual visits, which can involve the delivery of medicines to patients, telehealth appointments and biological sample tracking. A key aspect of Evinova’s offer is that patients in clinical trials only need one app with which to participate, which is already available in 80 languages.

“In a clinical trial, you can end up with six different apps and six different devices and it's extremely complex for the patient,” Evinova CEO Cristina Duran told reporters at a launch event this morning. “So we've really worked on how to simplify that.”

The other key part of the platform is the ability to harness artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to help companies design their own trials, including access to automatic costings and the ability to assess the most suitable countries and sites in which to operate.

Evinova has already received the endorsement of major CROs Parexel and Fortrea, which have signed agreements to offer these solutions to their own customer bases. While those two companies have now “validated our solutions … and are ready to go,” Duran teased upcoming announcements from pharma companies who had been “waiting to hear how they can get access to the solutions.”

Despite being a standalone company, Evinova will sit within the AstraZeneca group. While it has been built on funding from its parent company, Duran expects it to start generating revenue from those as-yet-unnamed pharma customers in the future.

While Duran acknowledged that unlocking AstraZeneca’s trial expertise could be seen as losing a competitive advantage, she argued that it aligns with regulators’ expectations.

“My belief is that regulators do not want each pharma company to come with their own different solutions,” she told reporters. “So across the industry, we will go much faster together, rather than individually. That's why it's a good place to do it now.”