Kroger Health kicks off trial site network with focus on colorectal cancer

Kroger Health, a unit of the grocery chain Kroger Co., kicked off the opening of its clinical trial network by starting recruitment of patients for the group’s first trial for colorectal cancer gut and immune health observations.

The network is working with Persephone Biosciences to initially recruit about 55 people who are at risk of colorectal cancer for a variety of reasons, the company said in a Jan. 25 press release. The study is part of Persephone’s ARGONAUT study to identify microbiome-based biomarkers indicative of colorectal cancer.

The first wave of recruiting by Kroger Health will be located in the Toledo, Ohio, area at select Kroger pharmacies and its affiliate, The Little Clinic. Kroger Health expects to enroll more participants and increase site locations in the next year.

Data collected from the trial will be used to develop personalized medicines and find cancer-specific indicators that can be used for future treatment and preventive strategies. Kroger Health plans to offer end-to-end clinical trial management targeting a variety of preventive and therapeutic areas.

"This is the first of many clinical trial opportunities that will utilize us as an alternative to the traditional clinical trial and research organization model,” Jim Kirby, Kroger Health’s chief commercial officer, said in the release.

In June, Walgreens expanded its reach into clinical trials by leveraging its vast trove of patient data, technology assets and retail locations. The pharmacy chain giant was looking to revolutionize antiquated clinical trial models by using its community reach to increase patient enrollment as well as racial and ethnic diversity in sponsor-led drug development research.