PPD boosts digital trial work amid pandemic

Contract research organization PPD is extending its digital clinical trial offering to support its biopharma clients' R&D as life science companies continue to find workarounds on trial delays.

PPD said in a statement that in “quick response” to COVID-19 and its disruption of ongoing studies across biotech and pharma, the CRO has invested and teamed up with the likes of virtual trial specialists Medable and Science 37 and is “rapidly deploying innovative solutions to mitigate study challenges.”

These include new mobile apps to allow patients to video call their clinical study sites and to allow investigators to better complete safety assessments. It’s also supporting the capability to collect eConsent, eCOA or data from devices/wearables on the same digital trial platform.

“PPD also is deploying trial models that enable or augment, respectively, the use of traditional brick-and-mortar sites with full digital support and decentralized (or virtual) site alternatives to allow the recruitment and retention of patients remotely,” it said.

This follows the FDA’s recent call to allow more virtual or site-less trials, with increasingly more companies turning to telehealth and other digital systems to help them mitigate some of the delays to their tests. PPD is hoping its boosted offerings will help both the industry and itself amid the pandemic.

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“The pandemic’s impact is driving a new consensus that the need is now for expanded use of digitally enabled trials,” said Niklas Morton, PPD’s senior vice president of digital services. “Our flexible customer solutions across the digital spectrum are designed to increase trial-participation access for patients and enhance their experience, resulting in time-efficiency and data-quality improvements for our customers. In today’s challenging environment, our digital solutions can contribute to minimizing trial disruptions and helping our customers keep their drug development programs on track.”

PPD has been ramping up its response to the pandemic, starting a new program last week via its Accelerated Enrollment Solutions unit that sees it transferring clinical trial patients to its research sites from other trial facilities hit by COVID-19 disruption.