Parexel uses virtual clinical trials to improve real-life R&D

Parexel ($PRXL) is expanding its efforts in so-called model-based drug development, using data analytics to flesh out a drug's potential safety, efficacy and interactions before beginning a clinical trial.

Through its Quantitative Clinical Development business, Parexel offers a modeling service it says can reduce risk, speed up development and aid in the regulatory process. The CRO uses its troves of pharmacology data to create mathematical models that pool all the available information on a given drug and its target patient population, simulating a trial with the aim of predicting potential benefits and side effects.

Such model-based drug development can help inform trial design and dose selection, the company said, improving the odds of success in actual clinical trials.

"The biopharmaceutical landscape continues to show dramatic change, putting companies under increasing pressure to deliver on their pipeline, to identify more effective means of picking the 'winners' and efficiently developing these medicines under financial constraints," Parexel Vice President Frank Hoke said in a statement. "In addition, regulatory authorities around the world have increasingly accepted model-based techniques as a standard component of new drug applications."

Hoke, who was among the more than 400 GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) employees who joined Parexel this year, led the pharma giant's modeling and simulation department. He now leads a team of more than 30 scientists implementing the method at Parexel.

Meanwhile, the CRO is planning to shed about 850 jobs over the next year in an effort to cut costs. Parexel is looking to save between $20 million and $30 million a year as it dampens its revenue expectations.

- read the statement