22 June 2023
Charles Wentworth By Charles Wentworth

Emerging AI Trends in CRO Development and Clinical Trials.

The adoption of AI is accelerating across the entire CRO space as we start to explore the benefits of the tech. Whether being utilised for CRO expansion, streamlined clinical trials, better data analysis or another application we’ve yet to discover.  

As we navigate this exciting period of change I was keen to take a deep dive into exploring the impact AI could have on CROs and the wider life science space. To get some expert insight, I was lucky enough to speak with Grant Mitchell, CEO of Every Cure – a non-profit dedicated to unlocking the full potential of existing medicines who have recently entered a strategic partnership with leading CRO, Worldwide Clinical Trials.  

Better Results, Faster.

According to Grant, increasing speed is a major benefit of AI adoption, as it allows us to mitigate the “complex and time-consuming process” of drug development. He went on to say that 

AI can accelerate this process by analyzing vast amounts of data and predicting the efficacy and safety of potential drug candidates. AI algorithms can also assist in identifying existing drugs that may be repurposed for new indications, saving time and resources."

AI onboarding allows for digital data flow automation in clinical trials, allowing studies to be completed faster whilst mitigating errors. In turn, life-saving medicines and treatments can be accessed by patients more quickly.  

The use of AI allows for a vast range of intelligent data tools, improving data interpretation, optimising downstream systems, and auto-populating reports. Automated data processing allows for seamless integration of data flow across working platforms, providing a single, collaborative base for all interactions during clinical trials and simplifying working practices. 

Championing Collaboration Through AI.

Through the considered collaborations many CROs are committing to,  innovators across the industry are seeing the benefits of shared AI learning, networking and collective thinking. And the industry is better for it.  

The recent partnership of Syneos Health and KX Partner is ensuring the best knowledge and focused efforts advance both CROs in their goals. Their combined efforts are leading them towards improved real-time engagement, faster and more accurate decision-making in drug trials and improved clinical trial results with more efficiency than navigating in a silo.  

Syneos’ further collaboration with Microsoft has also allowed the development of an advanced analytics platform enabling nuanced implementation of machine learning and AI, making analysis, design, and execution of clinical trials more streamlined than ever.  

Increased Access to Reusable Data and New Discoveries.

AI technologies allow organisations to intelligently retain and reuse existing data, sorting by demographic and need. Held standard data and metadata can make the development of new clinical trials faster and easier as you work from existing data sets to develop specific trial needs.  

It also means that we can get more from what we already have- something that is central to Grant and Every Cure’s mission. They have created an AI algorithm that has initially ranked all 3,000 FDA-approved drugs to treat all 12,000 human diseases, generating 36 million evaluations. They’re currently analysing these in their Every Cure LinkMap.  

There are some truly exciting developments here too, as Grant told me about opportunities such as:  

The use of Mereleptin for anorexia, folinic acid for autism spectrum disorder, Anakinra for sepsis, and Bosutinib for ALS. These candidates and others will be further evaluated and prioritized for future clinical trials."

Improved Participant Retention.

AI advancements allow CROs to extend remote patient monitoring during clinical trials, allowing patients to participate in trials more easily and reach broader demographics. AI algorithms also open up greater possibilities in interpreting individual patient data and a better understanding of their behaviours and needs.  

Improved understanding of patients in clinical trials results in more patient-centric interactions and improved patient retention, leading to a more nuanced understanding of patient needs and more effective clinical trials in future.  

Lower Clinical Trial Costs

AI use optimises the clinical trial process for CROs, reducing the cost of development and implementation and post-trial data analysis. Smart automation, improved efficiency and fewer errors in development ensure a smoother and more reliable process for CRO development teams, patients, and analysts alike.  

What next?

AI isn’t going anywhere and our industry is now in a race to see who can harness its potential most effectively to create the best outcomes for patients. Those that do will enjoy all the benefits listed here and many more that we didn’t have time to list.  When I put the question to Grant about what he was most excited about, his response was:

We're excited about our potential impact as we integrate more data, optimize the algorithms, and investigate our most promising leads. Our mission is to offer options to patients who have otherwise run out of hope. We do that by taking on the responsibility of ensuring that every drug is used to treat every disease it possibly can. It’s a huge responsibility but desperately needed and we are positioned to do it."

An exciting time for us all – I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Get in touch to chat about your AI journey.

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Charles Wentworth

Charles Wentworth is Business Consultant specialising within the CRO space, covering a global market. Charles is a specialist at building teams and making sure new hires culturally align to company goals. Fascinated by his market, Charles is always keen to talk with experts and leading executives on the subjects that matter most to you.


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