Investigator database looking for new members after adding Novartis and Pfizer to ranks

When Eli Lilly ($LLY), Merck ($MRK) and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) set up a database of clinical trial investigators in 2012, they made a conscious decision to limit membership to speed decision-making. Now, having made the big decisions about how the database will work, the collaborators are looking to add more members to a roster already swelled by the arrival of Novartis ($NVS) and Pfizer ($PFE).

After the addition of details from Novartis and Pfizer, the database now includes information on nearly 180,000 investigators, 50,000 sites and 7,335 studies. Pooling information on trial sites and their capabilities is intended to eliminate the duplicated effort that occurred when every company kept their own, siloed records. The database is potentially a boon for investigators, who will be freed from the need to jump through the same administrative hoops for every clinical trial sponsor.

With 5 Big Pharma companies on board, the database should begin to slightly lessen the burden on the investigator community, which is prone to churn. But the bigger gains will come if the 5 collaborators can persuade others to sign up, perhaps leading to a point when the database is the only resource sites need to update. The Big Pharma collaborators and DrugDev--which is providing hosting--have taken a step in this direction by creating a portal where sites can maintain their details.

Improving the accuracy of the database should make it easier for trial sponsors to identify suitable sites, and DrugDev talked up these benefits in a release that called for others to join the venture. For industry the other less immediately tangible benefit is a potential decline in the number of sites and investigators that stop running clinical trials because the administrative burdens are too high.

- read the release