AstraZeneca taps CCT Research for COVID-19 vaccine tests

U.K. Big Pharma AstraZeneca and academic partner the University of Oxford are tapping research services firm CCT Research for their COVID-19 shot tests in Arizona.

AstraZeneca is currently flying the flag for a more traditional vaccine approach to COVID-19 compared to rival late-stagers Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, with its shot, AZD1222, using adenovirus tech.

Its rivals are a little further along, having both this month revealed 90%-plus efficacy top-line data readings for their mRNA attempts, but AZ is storming up from behind. To aid in these efforts to get over the finishing line, the Big Pharma has asked CCT to help recruit 1,500 patients for a new test in Arizona.

The firm works as a clinical site network, embedding research studies within local communities.

The study, which will take place at Bayless Integrated Healthcare's downtown Phoenix location at 3620 N 3rd St., is assessing healthy adults getting the vaccine against a placebo. A trial of the vaccine was stuck on a clinical hold for several weeks by the FDA after a safety scare but was given the green light a month ago to restart.

Arizona is, like almost every other U.S. state, seeing a resurgence of cases of COVID-19 after a lull in the summer: It had been down to just a few hundred cases in late August but this week was up to more than 4,000 cases registered per day.

“CCT is honored to work alongside AstraZeneca amid this unprecedented public health crisis. Our established network and embedded trial design allowed us to quickly and efficiently prepare multiple sites to facilitate high-volume COVID vaccine trials safely,” said CJ Anderson, president of CCT.

“COVID-19 has been and continues to be devastating to our world. Finding a vaccine is one tool that will help us return to our new normal,” added Thomas Fiel, D.O., family practice physician and Arizona principal investigator.

“I understand the need for clinical trials, as well as the anxiety they can bring to study participants. By conducting this trial through local medical practices like ours, CCT and AstraZeneca can build on an existing foundation of trust, ultimately improving the patient experience. It is another way that, as a community physician, I can help fight this battle.”