PPD joins MIT think tank focused on real-world evidence

The pilot, currently in the design phase, aims to create real-world data tools using the state of Massachusetts as a testbed, targeting asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 and 2 diabetes. (Pixabay)

Pharmaceutical Product Development, along with its real-world business unit, Evidera, will represent the first contract research organization to join the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s collaborative biotech think tank.

The Center for Biomedical Innovation’s New Drug Development Paradigms initiative, or NEWDIGS, aims to design and evaluate noncompetitive advancements in global pharmaceutical regulation too large for a single organization or market sector. It employs nearly three dozen drugmakers, care providers, regulators, payers, patient advocacy groups and other stakeholders.

“We are excited to be a NEWDIGS partner because it is a results-focused organization active in many of the same areas in which we have expertise,” said Jon Williams, president of Evidera.

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“Our relationship with NEWDIGS is an extension of our numerous ongoing innovation efforts in the areas of real-world research, patient-centered research, pragmatic trials and platform studies,” Williams added.

Evidera will first participate in the Learning Ecosystems Accelerator for Patient-Centered, Sustainable Innovation, or LEAPS project, to generate evidence using randomized, controlled clinical trials and real-world data.

The pilot aims to create scalable tools and trial infrastructure integrated into community health settings, using the state of Massachusetts as a testing environment. Target diseases include asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 and 2 diabetes; a two-year design phase was launched in January. NEWDIGS members GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Sanofi provided $500,000 in startup funding, with other corporate and nonprofit members contributing in-kind resources.

In the future, the project may include exploring technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning and their use in product development, PPD said in a statement.