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Dicerna Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative treatments for rare inherited diseases involving the liver and for cancers that are genetically defined.
Article | March 26, 2020
If you’re part of a clinical study team racing a new product to commercialization, you likely live by these two simple rules: time is money, and the first one to market wins. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. That ticking clock is background noise to the responsibilities of regulations, study protocols, supply chains, and patient recruitment — all the details that must be worked out before a study can even begin. The pressure is always there. The longer it takes for a study to start, the longer it takes to complete.
Swiss pharma giant Roche is joining the race to develop a test for COVID-19 antibodies in people who have been exposed to the disease. This morning, Roche announced the development and upcoming launch of its Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 serology test to detect antibodies in people who have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Roche is eying May for the launch of the test in Europe and is in talks with the U.S Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval of the system.
Antibody testing is central to help identify people who have been infected by the virus, especially those who may have been infected but did not display symptoms, the company said. Roche noted that as more information becomes available about immunity levels to COVID-19, society can return to a sense of normal much more quickly. Roche’s test will join a number of other antibody tests that have recently come on the market. Earlier this month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first blood test for COVID-19 antibodies.
These are unprecedented times. The world is mobbed by a contagion virus, putting people’s health at risk, threatening to destabilize economies. It has already put global healthcare systems under tremendous pressures, and managed to resist efforts to contain it. Even though coronaviruses are not new, this COVID-19 strain has created panic and forced us to be locked down in our homes sans any movement for weeks, if not months. Organizations are fighting an intense battle to keep their workforce safe, minimize risk, and ensure business continuity. For the Life Sciences industry, however, the challenge is even more significant. The whole world is looking at them to come up with a vaccine and a cure. But that is easier said than done. Bringing a new drug to market is an uphill battle and requires rigorous clinical trials. This process already has regulatory challenges. With the current lockdown situation, the Pharma community is grappled with the challenge of continuing some of the critical and time-sensitive in-flight trials so that their regulatory submission, registration, and market entry are not impacted. But all may not be lost. With the right technology solution, it is possible to turn the situation around rapidly.
Everyone in pharma knows that product success depends on the results of clinical trials — but we don’t usually hear from the people who are involved in running them. Recently, four Clinical Research Managers (CRM) from Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) discussed how Merck is overcoming the barriers to clinical trial recruitment by adopting a patient-centric process — a model that affects their trials top to bottom, from design through implementation. Each of the panel members manages clinical trials, serving as the main point of interaction with the Clinical Research Associates (CRAs) on research requirements, goals, and resources, including recruiting and retention.
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