Risk-Based Monitoring – Driving the Evolution of the Clinical Research Associate Role

Over the last 10 years, clinical trials have changed substantially in response to increasing globalization and study complexity, along with new technological capabilities and industry guidelines[1],7. With these noticeable transformations, sponsors are increasingly revisiting their monitoring methods to uncover new efficiencies and develop more robust risk management processes that can enhance ongoing patient safety and data quality.

At the forefront of this movement is risk-based monitoring (RBM) – a broad term for a variety of clinical monitoring methods that combine people, process and technology, enabling project teams and Clinical Research Associates (CRAs) to focus on the most important risks in clinical trials.

Clinical Research Associate Covance CRA Careers

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Novel Assays Support RSV Drug and Vaccine Development

Chances are you’ve been hit by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which infects nearly everyone by the age of 2 and usually reinfects exposed people throughout their lifetimes. While most healthy people experience mild to moderate cold-like symptoms, RSV Drug and Vaccine DevelopmentRSV can also cause severe infections. It has earned notoriety as the leading cause of hospital stays for newborns, and RSV-associated infections in infants cause up to 200,000 deaths per year worldwide in developed countries.

With only limited, supportive treatments to help patients with RSV, scientists at Monogram Biosciences, Inc. (part of the LabCorp Specialty Testing Group) recently examined ways to help sponsors develop an RSV vaccine or antiviral medication that can treat or even prevent this illness. Continue reading

The Importance of Stakeholder Research in Rare Disease Drug Development

The approval of novel orphan drug designations continues to grow, while many existing rare disease therapies are receiving approval for expanded indications. With this increase Rare Disease Drug Developmentand broadening class of products, including some that target the same mutation or molecular defect, sponsors face new and significant market access challenges in securing reimbursement.

Leading manufacturers increasingly employ stakeholder research early in development to better identify the needs of patients and providers. This strategy can build in compelling asset value during development, help avoid pitfalls and better inform go/no-go decisions earlier to avoid costly development delays or even dead-ends. Continue reading

Behind the Scenes with Kits & Logistics for Vaccine Studies

Whether large or small, vaccine studies differ from standard drug development in many Kits & Logistics for Vaccine Studies ways. Sarah Slette, Sr. Study Manager, Vaccines & Novel Immunotherapeutics at Covance, explains the unique challenges her team faces and their solutions to rapidly deliver customized vaccine kits to sponsors’ sites across the globe.

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The Next Frontier for Cancer Immunotherapy Trials

With its measurable impact on patient survival, there’s no denying that immunotherapy is Cancer Immunotherapy Trialsalready causing momentum in ways that cancer is treated. Drug researchers and developers are identifying new candidates in their growing pipelines and exploring combinations of immunotherapies, while regulatory agencies are providing expedited review and approval of these therapies for new indications at an unprecedented rate.

With checkpoint inhibitors from ipilimumab (Yervoy®) to nivolumab (Opdivo®) to pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) to the most recently approved atezolizumab (TecentriqTM), each breakthrough has provided new insights on how the immune system can be activated and manipulated to fight a variety of cancers. Continue reading

The Development Landscape for Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis

The Development Landscape for Non-Alcoholic SteatohepatitisThe Development Landscape for Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis Q&A

Q&A with Claudia Filozof, MD, PhD, Senior Medical Director in the Phase II-IV Cardiovascular/Metabolic Group and Richard Williams, PhD, JD, Executive Strategist,  Global Regulatory Affairs

Is this a good time to develop a NASH drug, and if so, why?

Claudia: Yes, it’s a very good time. There are multiple companies starting NASH development, and there is a huge unmet medical need with no treatment approved so far. Health authorities also have shown a lot of interest in supporting companies to speed up development. If you have the right compound, there are multiple advantages to starting a NASH program.

Richard: The cost to society will be enormous if we can’t treat this disease. I think most pharmaceutical companies, big and small, see this as a substantial unmet medical need. With this unmet medical need,  regulatory agencies can grant  conditional approval (accelerated approval in the US), where the drug is approved for marketing with the condition that the company later shows it has a clinical benefit based on clinical  outcomes. Continue reading

Validation: A Key Stage in Mobile Health Development

To enter the rapidly growing mobile health space, companies must overcome the Mobile Health Developmentcrucial hurdle of validation. This process demonstrates that the app – in combination with the underlying technology platform / device – performs comparably to traditional products on the market, ensuring that patients and providers can rely on the output to make appropriate medical decisions.

Mobile health apps offer functions ranging from data collection to running algorithms, and underlying all of those features is the need for a quality system. To show that their product is reliable, developers need to take a variety of measurements, confirm that data transmission and analysis work correctly and test the app on multiple devices. Continue reading

Understanding 505(b)(2): An Abbreviated Pathway for Modified Drugs

Among the regulatory pathways for small molecule drugs in the United States, the 505(b)(2) option occupies a middle ground. Intended for modifications of an existing505(b)(2): An Abbreviated Pathway for Modified Drugs Covance Blog treatment, it requires much more evidence than a generic but allows the sponsor to use data from a previous application. Companies can thus avoid unnecessarily repeating studies and shorten their development time.

At a recent Covance clinical seminar in Shanghai, attendees learned about the intricacies of 505(b)(2), the corresponding hybrid medicinal product pathway in the European Union and the differences from applications for biosimilars or generics. Developers in the Asia Pacific region are eager to better understand this topic because the Chinese pharmaceutical industry is developing rapidly with support from the government. “They view 505(b)(2) as a potentially faster way to market,” said Eric Lang, MD, Vice President and Global Head of Clinical Drug Development Leaders, Early Phase Development Solutions. To succeed, however, sponsors will need to consult with experts who can help them develop a regulatory strategy and consider market access issues as well. Continue reading

Developing a Successful Regulatory Strategy for Mobile Health Devices and Applications

For many technology companies entering the mobile health space, meeting US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements may be unfamiliar territory. The Covance Mobile Health Blogguidelines can appear convoluted and contradictory at first glance, and some devices and/or applications (apps) fall into regulatory grey areas.

To make progress in this rapidly changing field, companies need to find a way to work within the regulations while encouraging creative development. Consulting with experts and the FDA, considering key design issues, taking precautionary quality measures and assessing global requirements will increase the chances that a company can bring a safe and successful mobile health device and/or app to market.

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Leveraging Big Data to Improve Clinical Trial Performance

As any drug developer knows, clinical trials generate a lot of raw and electronic data from Leveraging Big Data to Improve Clinical Trial Performance Covance Chinamultiple sources. Yet tracking progress and reviewing results from each separate database can be cumbersome in traditional environments. This “rear-view” mirror approach to monitoring doesn’t support preventative planning to mitigate future risks and can account for 20-30% of a trial’s costs.

Recognizing the opportunity increase efficiency and deliver information faster, Covance created Xcellerate® Monitoring, a platform that integrates clinical trial data to help sponsors proactively decrease the inherent risks associated with clinical trials.

At a recent clinical seminar in China, Dimitris Agrafiotis, PhD, Vice President, Chief Data Officer discussed how Xcellerate Monitoring tracks quality, patient safety and protocol compliance in clinical trials. Continue reading