Roche's Genentech will communicate with patients, trial participants using Lifelink Systems' chatbot

The chatter at Roche's Genentech on Tuesday will revolve around a digital chatbot that will gather and provide personalized information for clinical trial participants, patients and providers.

Genentech will deploy Lifelink Systems' chatbot and conversational technology services for a range of patient experience initiatives, the life sciences tech startup said Tuesday. The digital assistant will interact with people testing experimental drugs in the clinic, patients using approved therapies, caregivers and providers. 

The artificial-intelligence-based program is aimed at making communication between the Big Pharma and patients easier and more convenient through its use on mobile devices. Having a conversational approach via a device is a "key next generation consumer interface," said Nikheel Kolatkar, M.D., vice president of scientific operations at Genentech, in a statement.

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Kolatkar said the program is meant to drive higher patient engagement, increase satisfaction and aid the ramp-up of decentralized clinical trials. Improving diversity and inclusion in clinical studies is another goal of the partnership, the leader said. 

The language-based tool will be used to help answer questions about clinical trials, conduct onboarding and enrollment steps and provide support throughout trials. The platform also helps with study awareness, surveys, FAQs, patient-reported outcomes, consent forms and other resources on information regarding dosing, side effects and safety of treatments. 

Lifelink previously partnered with Roche's U.K. unit to collect adverse event data and support FAQs in June 2019. 

The San Francisco startup raised $9.75 million in a series A in March.