A North Carolina-based company is working with Amazon Web Services to create what it hopes will be a next-generation platform for conducting clinical trials.
Thread, which offers a platform for running decentralized clinical trials, expects the fruits of the partnership, announced Tuesday, to make trials more efficient and less costly through greater use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The announcement of the
“What’s really important about this is, it’s not just ‘let’s go build technology for technology’s sake,’” Thread co-founder and CEO John Reites said in a phone interview about the collaboration with AWS.
He said the partnership is focused on helping to modernize clinical trials in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a time when clinical trials relied more than ever on virtual and remote technology.
“Many sponsors are now examining how they can convert a patchwork of rapidly deployed interventions, such as consumer-grade videoconferencing and home nursing, into a comprehensive strategic approach to trial virtualization,” consultants from McKinsey & Co. wrote in a June 2021 report on the decentralization of clinical trials. The process generally involves bringing trials closer to patients wherever they happen to live, rather than concentrating research at large academic medical centers and similar centralized locales.
Through their partnership, Thread and Amazon plan to focus on automating processes that are still manual, generate better insights from the data being collected during trials and adopt the technologies at greater scale.
“I’m building the components that our customers need now but more so in the next two to three to four years,” he said.
At many clinical trial sites, for example, the same data must be entered multiple times into multiple systems, he said. Thread and Amazon are building a framework to remove that need. New features also could provide more insights on why patients drop out of trials, allowing for better trial design, Reites said.
The partners began working together earlier this year. They plan to begin rolling out new features for the Thread platform in the second quarter of 2022, Reites said. Their goals include a 30% reduction in the time it takes to onboard customers that want to offer trials and a cost savings of 25% by simplifying data entry, according to Thread
Based in Cary, North Carolina, Thread brings more than six years of experience in the sector. Its customers include Novartis and Procter & Gamble, many of the top 20 pharma companies, contract research organizations and hundreds of biotech companies. The company has 11 offices around the world.
AWS adds experience in using data and technology to enhance the user experience in multiple industries.
“Improvements such as AI support, automated processes, frictionless access to data and enhanced security can advance precision medicine by reducing the time it takes to bring innovative, life-saving medicines to patients globally,” Dan Sheeran, general manager for health care and life sciences at Amazon Web Services, said in an emailed response to questions.
Aside from Thread, the decentralized clinical trials market has quite a few players including Medable, Curebase and Science 37.
Photo: Warchi, Getty Images