PatientsLikeMe seals CRO deal for online trial recruitment

PatientsLikeMe has found more interest in its online tool for promoting clinical trials to members of its social network. The CRO outfit inVentiv Health and PatientsLikeMe have formed a partnership that could expand the use of services from both companies.

Burlington, MA-based inVentiv has a clinical business that uses a variety of tech and non-tech methods to attract patients to clinical trials. It plans to tap Cambridge, MA-based PatientsLikeMe's Clinical Trial Awareness tool to target patients from the social network of more than 200,000 people for clinical trials based on those members' unique profiles. "InVentiv in turn will market PatientsLikeMe to its customers' audiences, so we can expand our member base with more people who track their health and contribute data to advance medicine," PatientsLikeMe told FierceBiotech IT in an email.

PatientsLikeMe has found increased interest from drug developers in its trial-awareness vehicle that drives at streamlining recruitment, which can raise the cost of drug development. Last month Sanofi ($SNY), the French drug giant, inked a deal with PatientsLikeMe to boost awareness of its clinical trials for a variety of new treatments. The deals signal the growing role of social media in clinical development, which accounts for the lion's share of drug research spending at a time when the pharma industry is seeking ways to limit R&D costs.

For its part, inVentiv has included PatientsLikeMe in a multipronged digital effort to improve the process of ushering patients into drug studies. Last week the company announced a deal with Medikly, a physician-focused social media analytics outfit, which is expected to provide insights about which doctors would likely serve as investigators for trials or recommend their patients for clinical studies. Earlier this year InVentiv invested in the software company Myrtus, which has developed an FDA-cleared electronic technology that allows patients to give informed consent before they enroll in a clinical trial.

With members of PatientsLikeMe, drug developers seek an audience with people who have already shown a level of engagement in their health that could make them prime candidates to participate in trials. As FierceCRO reported, the company's deal with inVentiv market its first with a contract research organization. Others could follow.

- here's the release
- see the article from FierceCRO