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DPharm Day Two Recap, September 8, 2017

  • September 9, 2017

  • The 7th annual DPharm: Disruptive Innovations to Advance Clinical Trials conference has reached its conclusion. Some of the highlights from day two of DPharm included:

    1. PhysIQ Wins DPharm Idol 2017

    PhysIQ was named this year’s DPharm Idol winner. The company offers a scalable cloud-based Personalized Physiology Analytics (PPA) platform that provides continuous vital sign and bio-signal data capture capabilities from clinical-grade wearable devices.

    The PhysIQ PPA platform can be applied across multiple clinical use cases, hardware platforms and patient populations to generate personalized patient insights. As such, the platform may disrupt the clinical trials space for years to come.

    “When it came to the winner of DPharm Idol, we really had a consensus opinion,” DPharm Idol judge Andreas Koester, said. “We are pretty confident, as in previous years, that this winner will show us in the years ahead that it is on a trajectory to change the way that clinical trials are run.”


    2. Pfizer Technology Evangelist Discusses the Use of Blockchain Technology for Drug Development

    Sascha Mundstein, PhD, MBA, Mobile and Digital COE, Technology Evangelist, Pfizer Inc., defined blockchain technology and its impact on drug development during his DPharm presentation.

    According to Mundstein, blockchain is more than just a block of chains that contain patient data. In fact, blockchain may help accelerate the drug development process and transform the business model of clinical development.

    Blockchain for drug development offers many benefits, including:

    – Improved Security: Blockchain is a cryptographic chain of data that delivers “an unbelievable amount of security,” Mundstein said.

    – Enhanced Clinical Trials: Blockchain drives massive data sharing from millions of patients and non-patients, enabling healthcare professionals to perform queries to find the right people for any study, at any time.

    – Increased Accountability: Blockchain provides outstanding data integrity and transparency to help increase accountability.

    “With blockchain, everybody has access to their own data, everyone owns their own data and everything is distributed,” Mundstein said.


    Blockchain also brings clarity to an expensive, inefficient and unsustainable healthcare system, Mundstein pointed out. By doing so, blockchain may drive meaningful healthcare system improvements.


    3. “The Today Show” at DPharm

    “The Today Show” at DPharm was hosted by Andreas Koester, MD, PhDVP, Innovation, R&D Operations, Janssen and Bray Patrick-Lake, MFS, Director of Stakeholder Engagement at Duke Clinical Research Institute.

    Koester and Patrick-Lake discussed several clinical research projects with the following guests:

    Esther Dyson, Executive Director, Way to Wellville: Dyson described Way to Wellville, a nonprofit organization that focuses on building community health initiatives. To date, Way to Wellville boasts five communities across the United States, and these communities focus on achieving long-term results. “Short-term desire is addiction, and long-term desire is purpose. We need to start thinking about the long-term,” Dyson stated.

    Sara Holoubek, MBA, CEO, Luminary Labs: Holoubek shared her thoughts on the Alexa Diabetes Challenge, which promotes the development of Alexa voice-enabled solutions to improve the lives of individuals with type 2 diabetes. Alexa voice-enabled solutions have been shown to reduce the friction in the lives of type 2 diabetes patients, Holoubek said. If healthcare professionals embrace Alexa voice-enabled solutions, these professionals may be able to drive unparalleled clinical trials innovation. “Voice involves using hardware plus machine learning to radically transform the interface of everything you touch,” Holoubek said. “Now, we need to rethink how everything is found through a conversational interface.”

    E.B. McLindon, Vice President, Healthcare Alliances, ICON: McLindon offered insights into what it takes to simplify patient research for both patients and sites. He pointed out that innovation reigns supreme in clinical trials. However, plenty of work lies ahead to ensure that healthcare professionals can consistently deliver an amazing patient experience. “There’s great innovation, but what I see right now is a lot of innovation on the fringe. At the heart of that is making sure that we’re getting to the patient. And we’re not there yet,” McLindon indicated.

    There are many opportunities to drive clinical trials innovation, and healthcare professionals can work together to discover the best ways to deploy technology to innovate and improve clinical trial outcomes.


    4. Antidote Leaders Explore the Next Generation of Clinical Trials Matching

    Antidote CEO and founder Pablo Graiver and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Ed Godber discussed the evolution of clinical trial matching during an afternoon session at DPharm.

    According to Graiver, the majority of medical research is delayed due to a lack of patient participation. Today, Antidote provides a clinical trials matching platform that makes it simple for health publishers and non-profit organizations to partner with patients. The Antidote platform is easy to embed within a website, Graiver said, and ensures clinical trial search capabilities are accessible to millions of individuals globally.


    5. Lunch Session Focuses on Clinical Research as a Care (CRAACO) Option

    DPharm attendees were treated to a lively lunchtime panel discussion of CRAACO that included insights from the following participants:


    John McConnell, MD, CEO Emeritus, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center/Executive Director & Chair, WF Healthcare Ventures


    Jeremy Sohn, Vice President, Global Head of Digital Business Development, Novartis

    Kenneth Mandl, MD, Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Computational Health Informatics Program, Boston Children’s Hospital

    Noah Craft, MD, PhD, Co-founder and CEO, Science 37

    Clinical trial innovation is unlikely to happen overnight, Craft stated. Conversely, there have been substantial investments in clinical trial matching and other clinical trial technologies that could reshape CRAACO in the foreseeable future, Sohn indicated.


    6. Clinical Trials Leaders Offer Practical Tips for Incorporating Mobile Technology Into Clinical Trials

    Several clinical trial leaders provided practical recommendations to implement mobile technology into clinical trials during a panel discussion at DPharm. The discussion featured insights from the following clinical trials experts:

    Komanthi Stem, Founder, monARC BioNetworks

    Ray Dorsey, MD, David M. Levy Professor of Neurology and Director of the CHET, University of Rochester

    Cindy Geoghegan, Principal, Patient and Partners LLC

    Gary Grabow, Esq., Assistant General Counsel, Genentech

    Clinical trial research requires hard work and patience, according to Grabow. Fortunately, clinical trial leaders can measure their results to find the best ways to innovate and maximize the time and resources that are available, Geoghegan noted. Clinical trial leaders also must be ready to explore digital opportunities, Dorsey said, as this may lead to innovations in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other complex diseases.


    7. Eli Lilly Clinical Innovation Advisor Provides an Update on the Hero’s Journey Art Project

    Kelly McKee, Advisor, Clinical Innovation, Eli Lilly & Company, provided details about the Hero’s Journey Art Project during an afternoon presentation at DPharm.

    The Hero’s Journey is designed to honor clinical trial participants and raise awareness of clinical trials, McKee said. The first of three crowdsourced Hero’s Journey sculptures, “Departure,” recently was unveiled. Going forward, the Hero’s Journey will continue to celebrate clinical trials patients and highlight the value of clinical research, according to McKee.


    8. Clinical Trials Leaders Evaluate the Importance of Digital Biomarkers

    Joseph Kim, Senior Advisor, Clinical Innovation, Eli Lilly & Company, and Sohini Chowdhury, Deputy CEO, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, took a look at the importance of digital biomarkers in clinical trials during an afternoon session at DPharm.

    Ultimately, technology provides many opportunities for continuous monitoring of diseases, Chowdhury stated. Digital biomarkers further drive clinical trials innovation by providing researchers with the ability to collect and measure a large assortment of patient data via mobile devices. Therefore, digital biomarkers may prove to be a future driver of health data.


    9. IBM Innovators Examine Cognitive Computing in Clinical Trials

    Jeff Beeler, Solutions Executive for IBM Watson Health, and Kimberly Kenna, Development Architect for Watson for Clinical Trial Matching at IBM, discussed cognitive computing and its impact on big data in clinical trials in an afternoon session at DPharm.

    In a cognitive system, everything is based on data, Kenna said. The system enables business users to train a machine to learn and understand a domain, Kenna stated, and bring augmented intelligence to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so that they can do their jobs more effectively.

    IBM for Clinical Trial Matching cognitive computing technology recently provided a 78 percent reduction in the time for researchers to screen patients for clinical trials. It may prove to be the first of many cognitive computing innovations to transform the way that healthcare professionals collect and analyze a broad assortment of clinical trial data.

    “People think about patient data, but there is a lot of other data to think about too,” Beeler said. “We want to digitize the entire data collection process so that we can start to look at data in a different way.”


    10. DPharm Day Two Break Out Sessions and Tracks

    There were a number of choices featuring everything from aligning incentives for data sharing, remote monitoring, digital therapeutics, flipping the clinic, to the next generation of AI, machine learning and the lessons learned from the microbiome.


    11. Pfizer Senior Director Explores the Possibility of a Data Donation App for Clinical Trials

    Is a data donation app a viable option for clinical trials? Munther Baara, Senior Director, Clinical Paradigm, Pfizer, explained why a data donation app is possible in the closing session of DPharm.


    Today’s patients want access to their data, but healthcare professionals frequently struggle to provide full data transparency, Baara stated. Now, biosensors can be used to track patient data over an extended period of time via a mobile app.

    Meanwhile, blockchain technology empowers healthcare professionals to secure all patient data, at all times. If healthcare professionals incorporate blockchain into a mobile app, they can maintain two-way communication with patients, collect patient data in real-time and improve clinical trial data quality.

    “With blockchain technology, you can enable others to see only certain pieces of information,” Baara said. “Blockchain ensures you can control what you share.”

    The eighth-annual DPharm conference will take place on September 25 and 26, 2018 in Boston – stay tuned for more details.