Engaging in Clinical Development: Highlights from the First Annual elluminate Engage Conference
by Sheila Rocchio – Chief Marketing Officer, eClinical Solutions
During the first week of December, we hosted the first annual elluminate Engage meeting. More than 50 elluminate clients attended, representing over 20 life sciences companies ranging from the largest in the world to emerging biotechs. Attendees gathered together to talk about data strategy, clinical data flow and the many different ways to utilize and benefit from the elluminate platform at the inaugural elluminate Engage conference.
Despite the uncooperative New England weather, there was an excellent turnout and tangible enthusiasm for discussing current life sciences challenges and solutions. As an industry, we stand at a unique intersection of time where the scientific knowledge to treat and cure diseases is accelerating, while the clinical development process for testing those therapies is struggling to keep pace with scientific advances and modernization. We talked about some of these challenges, as well as why every person involved in clinical trials does this type of work.
Raj, eClinical Solutions’ co-founder and CEO, shared this quote from Warren Buffett about what drives him to keep going so strong at his age:
“Why do I get up every day and jump out of bed and I’m excited at 88? It’s because I love what I do and love the people I do it with. I’ve got 25 people out here. We go to baseball games together. They try and make my life good, I try and make their life good.”
Raj shared that this quote particularly resonated with him as he and co-founder and eCS President Bob Arnesen started the company to do important work with talented people who they enjoyed collaborating with. This theme of bringing passion and energy to the work of clinical development came through in every session at Engage, from clients who are sharing the way they use elluminate to save time and costs mapping to SDTM standards, or to transform a formally very manual process from across numerous Excel spreadsheets to a click of a button in analytics.
One of eClinical Solutions’ first, long-time clients, Manny Lazaro, head of Clinical Development at Jounce Therapeutics, talked about some of the ways his organization is using elluminate to track biomarker samples that flow from the site to numerous different laboratories, and how one visualization replaced numerous “tracker” spreadsheets. He shared that he loved the quote from Buffett as well, because after 20 years working in clinical development across many different roles, he still loves what he does and thinks about the patients who have few alternatives and are waiting for new treatments—and how they have parents, kids and friends. This motivates him to do his best every day.
The talks covered broad topics around digital health transformation and the steps needed to transition a traditional life sciences company to a modern digital enterprise, as well as the technology platforms and mindset shifts required to make those changes. Outside of sessions during the networking breaks, there were lively conversations as attendees made new connections and caught up with former colleagues.
Three Key Themes
While the speakers at elluminate Engage offered many insights, there were three key themes we kept coming back to:
The need to establish specific clinical data strategies
Whether they are big or small, all life sciences companies need a formal clinical data strategy. Having such a strategy in place helps pinpoint the business objectives for the data that’s being collected. It also allows organizations to consider all of the external data that’s moving through their systems, and how they can provide access and meaningful insights to end users.
There are real data problems to solve
The type, volume, complexity and sources of data are increasing exponentially. This was clearly demonstrated in the preliminary results of the Tufts survey, where the last patient-last visit to database lock cycle time was shown to have increased significantly over the past three years. This is causing real challenges, especially in terms of reconciliation, that the life sciences industry must face right now.
The importance of user engagement
Traditional tools like Excel remain popular in the industry, but there are better solutions. Systems like elluminate can create powerful data insights and predictions, empowering clinical teams with the ability to know exactly when to do data cuts. By implementing these systems, companies can centralize data, use visualizations and automate manual, time-consuming tasks.