Pfizer teams up with Headlands Research to launch trial sites in more diverse areas

Pfizer's push for clinical diversity will see it team up with trial site network Headlands Research to break ground on several new research sites in diversely populated areas.

The multi-year partnership aims to establish several diversity-focused sites, with a new Headlands facility set to take root in Brownsville, Texas—a city of about 180,000 on the border of Mexico.

San Francisco-based Headlands has already carried out more than 5,000 clinical trials across its growing platform of 15 network research sites in the U.S. and Canada. Pfizer’s global presence and scale will also allow the two to access to local communities, the companies said.

“Diversity is a key pillar of our commitment to ensure clinical trials represent broader populations,” said Mark Blumling, CEO and founder of Headlands. “We are proud to partner with Pfizer as we take another meaningful step forward toward achieving this extremely important goal.”

Meanwhile, Pfizer's recent ad campaign tackles Black community health inequities with an eye toward increasing clinical trial participation.

The partnership comes amid various industry calls escalating the issue. Just yesterday, a new report from the Committee on Improving Representation of Women and Underrepresented Minorities in Clinical Trials and Research highlighted the lack of representation in clinical trials, as racial and ethnic minority populations continue to be left out. Other excluded groups include members of the LGBTQIA+ community, older adults, pregnant and lactating individuals, and people with disabilities. Some progress has, however, been made when it comes to including a better balance of women to men, according to the report.

In April, the FDA urged drugmakers to create and submit racial and ethnic recruitment plans for clinical trials early in the drug development process in an effort to boost participation among underrepresented populations. Racial and ethnic minorities are often underrepresented in biomedical research despite having a disproportionate burden for many diseases, meaning clinical trial enrollment may not accurately reflect the diversity of the population that will ultimately receive approved treatments.