Alphabet’s Verily life science division launched its Project Baseline back in 2017 with the ambition to make it easier for individuals to get involved in the clinical trial process and build a “comprehensive map of human health.”

In order to enable this goal, Verily has developed new tools meant to make it faster and easier to conduct research in real-world settings that garners high quality data.

While the program started with the support of academic institutions like Duke and Stanford Universities, Verily has been signing up a host of new industry partners to build its clinical research ecosystem.

Case in point, the company just announced strategic alliances with Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer and Sanofi to develop new clinical research programs utilizing the Project Baseline platform across therapeutic areas ranging from cardiovascular disease to oncology to mental health.

“Evidence generation through research is the backbone of improving health outcomes. We need to be inclusive and encourage diversity in research to truly understand health and disease, and to provide meaningful insights about new medicines, medical devices and digital health solutions,” Verily Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Jessica Mega said in a statement.

“Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer and Sanofi have been early adopters of advanced technology and digital tools to improve clinical research operations, and together we’re taking another step towards making research accessible and generating evidence to inform better treatments and care.”

Badhri Srinivasan, the head of global development operations at Novartis, said that the company’s drug development efforts are “often hampered by inefficient or limited participation in clinical trials.”

“By combining our complementary sets of expertise, we have the opportunity to develop a new trial recruitment model that gives patients and their physicians greater insight into the process of finding treatments for their disease, and how they can participate,” Srinivasan said in a statement.

The idea behind Project Baseline is to create a stronger and more diverse clinical evidence base by engaging the more than 90 percent of the population that don’t participate in clinical trials through new data gathering methods like EHRs, sensors and wearables. One recent initiative done in collaboration with the American Heart Association is Research Goes Red, an effort to engage more women in cardiovascular research.

Verily’s Project Baseline platform includes analytics tools and dashboards that make it easier for patients to participate in research, as well as features to help researchers with study enrollment, management and data collection.

Debbie Profit, the vice president of applied innovation and process improvement at Otsuka said the company’s collaboration with Verily aims to accelerate their drug development programs make its clinical research more precise and targeted.

“As an early adopter of the Baseline Platform, we have the opportunity to leverage real-world data, through sensors, EHR integrations and other tools to corroborate evidence around the treatments and interventions we are studying – while reducing the burden on clinical trial participants,” Profit said in a statement.

It’s not just biopharma companies joining Verily’s initiative, the company has also added health systems to the equation though its Baseline Health System Consortium.

The collaborative launched earlier this month with Duke University Health System, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, Regional Health in South Dakota and University of Pittsburgh as members.

The organizations will start a pilot later this year to see how existing research programs could be improved through the technology developed at Project Baseline.

“This consortium has a unique opportunity to harness data from past and present research programs, analyze what works and doesn’t work, and use the insights to improve the methodology of clinical research more broadly,” Dr. Robert Harrington, a cardiologist and professor at Stanford University, said in a statement.

“By embracing tools and technology to take research into the modern age, we hope to provide greater value in research to both patients and researchers and maximize what we learn about human health from every clinical and research interaction.”

Picture: Evgeny Gromov, Getty Images

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