Developing Drugs For Cancer Research

| February 27, 2020

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The Medicines for All Institute at VCU (M4ALL) is an internationally distinctive facility equipped to manufacture large volumes of targeted therapeutics for the university to conduct research as well as develop new lower cost methods for the preparation of global health drugs. Through a collaborative effort led by Frank Gupton, Ph.D., and Keith Ellis, Ph.D., M4ALL can directly provide scientists at VCU Massey Cancer Center with new and existing drugs they need for a wide range of cancer studies. This partnership will give Massey researchers a new means for translating and advancing their scientific discoveries from the laboratory into clinical trials.

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OTHER ARTICLES

How Pharma Companies Can Scale Up Their Knowledge Discovery with Semantic Similarity Search

Article | March 6, 2020

Pharma has deep roots in human history with centuries of folk pharmaceutical knowledge offering a hit-and-miss range of natural remedies. But the industry as we know it today actually emerged in the second half of the 19th century when the world’s first factory for the sole production of medicines was found. By the late 19th and early 20th century, some chemical companies had already begun using research labs to explore the medical applications for their products. Fast forward to today and the pharmaceutical sector is a global trillion-dollar industry. However, to ensure the safety and efficacy of drugs, the process of drug discovery and development is under extensive scrutiny and control on both national and global levels.

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WANT LESS “LIABILITY” AND MORE “RELIABILITY” FROM YOUR CLINICAL MOBILITY SOLUTION?

Article | March 6, 2020

I recently discussed the different ways that consumer-grade smartphones can compromise patients’ health, safety and overall care. However, some clinicians and healthcare administrators have indicated in recent months that they need help selecting the right enterprise-grade mobility solutions for their unique operating models and workflows. There are many different hardware and software options, and a single rugged device can come in multiple configurations. So, how do you know if you’re picking the right communication tools for your clinicians? The key is to first set performance expectations for the total mobility solution rather than the device alone.

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Top Pharmaceutical Firms Urge FDA to Adopt Blockchain for Drug Tracking

Article | March 6, 2020

Leading market participants in the United States pharmaceutical industry, logistics firms, distributors and other stakeholders in the pharma supply chain have come together to publish a report buttressing the need for industry players to adopt blockchain for tracking prescription drugs, following the successful completion of a DLT pilot project with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to reports on February 24, 2020. Though nascent, blockchain technology, the building blocks of Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies are fast gaining ground across various ecosystems, due to its immutability, security, privacy, and other intricate properties. In the latest development, 25 leading manufacturers of pharmaceutical products, logistics partners and other market participants in the pharma supply chain, have published a report that highlights the importance of blockchain technology in drug traceability.

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VIEWS AND ANALYSIS

New Dimensions of Clinical Trial Optimization

Article | March 6, 2020

For much of the past three decades, even as methodologies for clinical trial design have advanced and refined, the idea of the optimized clinical trial has centered on optimal patient samples, target enrollment rates, and generally the most efficient uses of scarce resources in the form of patients. Yet anyone who has had to design and optimize a clinical trial, knows that trial optimization occurs within an ecosystem of choices; a series of choices that stretch from the time it takes to implement a clinical trial and submit clinical data for analysis, to general concerns about the cost and power of a clinical trial. A true clinical trial optimization process would try to unify a number of these choices into a single framework for trial optimization. The complexity of clinical trial optimization comes from the need to align priorities on the one hand, and to understand opportunities on the other. We know that at a very general level, clinical operations specialists benefit from simplicity in clinical trial design, and that commercial teams prefer shorter clinical trials to longer ones. We also know that the statistical design of a clinical trial can influence both simplicity and duration. Yet how many sponsors have their clinical operations and commercial teams, sit with their R&D teams to review various statistically nuanced design options? For many sponsors, the reason this process does not occur as often as it should, is because the nuanced statistical parameters of a clinical trial design are very difficult to communicate to non-statisticians. Yet a trial optimization tool like Solara, equipped with data visualizations and the ability to see tradeoffs intuitively, can overcome this challenge. The real challenge is often convincing the non-statistician that they have a stake in clinical trial design. Cytel recently had a client that thought it needed a sample size re-estimation design, because it had a very strict limit on the number of patients it could enroll. After a few hours of working with Solara, though, a statistician discovered that a much simpler Group Sequential Design would deliver comparable power using about the same number of patients. The gains from the more complex design were minimal from the optimization perspective, when understood as the eco-system of choices. Similarly, most commercial teams pressure their clinical trial designers to have the most accelerated clinical trial imaginable, but as we all know, the longer the clinical trial the more likely there will be a higher number of events that demonstrate the effectiveness of a new medicine. So commercialization teams have a stake in longer clinical trials, even when their rule of thumb is to shorten them. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to communicate the benefits of various statistical designs to multiple stakeholders in a way that makes tradeoffs clear. Aligning on priorities early during the clinical trial design process is essential to selecting the optimal clinical trial. Yet for this statisticians need to be equipped for both a strategic and communicative role in the R&D process.

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