Here’s How Sanofi Is Using Wearable Technology to Make Clinical Trials Safer and More Effective
Wearable technology is finally beginning to take off, with the consumer market embracing fitness trackers and smartwatches in large numbers.
Naturally, the world of business is finding innovative applications for wearable technology as well. From field service engineers using augmented reality-powered glasses to access live schematics, to body-mounted cameras used by police and security services, wearable tech is making many industries more effective and efficient than ever before.
And now Sanofi is partnering with biopharmaceutical provider Parexel to bring this exciting technology to the field of clinical trials.
Sanofi’s mission to bring wearable technology to clinical trials began last year when they teamed up with Parexel to carry out viability research.
“Our objective is to demonstrate the relevance of data collected remotely and the overall feasibility of utilising wearables in clinic al trials,” said Global Head of Clinical Sciences and Operations of Sanofi, Lionel Bascles in a statement. “Wearables are a core component of Sanofi’s digital trials strategy and represent an important approach to automate patient processes using the latest technologies to bring new therapies to patients sooner.”
The research, titled “A Pilot Study to Assess the Feasibility of Collecting and Transmitting Clinical Trial Data with Mobile Technologies,” was published in the computer science and biomedicine journal Digital Biomarkers. 25 healthy participants were monitored over three weeks, during which time six mobile technologies were performance tested for collecting and transmitting trial data from in the clinic and at home.
“If a mobile technology captures more than one type of endpoint (such as blood pressure and pulse), repeatability and agreement may need to be established for each endpoint to be included in a clinical trial,” concluded the research. “Researchers need to develop criteria for excluding invalid device readings for the population studied using ranges based on accumulated subject data and established norms; and careful examination of a mobile technology’s performance (reliability, repeatability, and agreement with accepted reference devices) during pilot testing is essential, even for medical devices approved by regulators.”
While the research wasn’t conclusive in the viability of the technology, it did show enough promise to be worthy of further investment and investigation. And now, having ironed out some of the kinks, Sanofi is ready to start using wearables in its own clinical trials.
Parexel has launched a range of new technology products designed to work with its proprietary Microsoft Azure App Services-powered Perceptive Cloud platform.
The primary purpose of the technology is to relay important biometric information from the participants of clinical trials. This data can be accessed and analysed by healthcare teams and frontline clinicians, and will enable them to intervene should it appear that a participant is at risk due to an adverse reaction to the trial medication.
The worst thing that can happen during a clinical trial is for a participant to be injured, or even killed, by the treatment. However, due to the complex nature of the interactions between medicine and the human body, such eventualities are an unfortunate, although thankfully rare, reality of the process of bringing new drugs and treatments to market.
“Technology has made it possible to access more meaningful data than ever before, while improving the patient experience. The challenge is in collecting that data in a way that is efficient for the patient, site, and investigator,” said Chief Information Officer at Parexel, Douglas Barta in a statement. “Parexel has always been committed to helping our clients solve their most difficult challenges and applying both our innovative technology development and strategic alliance capabilities to provide seamless, patient-centric solutions to benefit our customers and their patients.”
Finding methods of making clinical trials safer is indeed a noble pursuit. Not only do safer trials benefit those already involved with them, but they also make participation more attractive, thereby increasing participant numbers and making results more viable and powerful.
Safety aside, wearable technology also has the potential to offer other benefits to clinical trials, including treatment schedule adherence, timekeeping, more accurate data, and more.