Now, patient relationship management during clinical trials

Be the Partner displays a software platform that allows indirect contact between trial sponsors and patients

For most trials and unless comprehensive patient opt-ins are in place, pharma companies sponsoring trials do not connect directly with patients. The trial site investigators and the contract research organizations (CROs) that manage the trial processes are usually an intentional barrier, the better to ensure unbiased trial results. But in today’s world of post-approval trials, adaptive trial design and a broadbased desire to get closer to patient perspectives on the drugs they’re using, there could be substantial value in opening up this line of communication. That’s the focus of Be the Partner, a Cambridge, MA-based startup that puts its capabilities on display at an industry event, DPharm (Boston) this week. The company is working with several leading pharma companies on patient engagement tools, says Ryan Norris, SVP. The company is a subsidiary of Cytolon Digital Health AG, a Berlin-based healthcare IT firm.

Norris explains that Be the Partner provides patient IDs while collecting extensive data on the patients; the trial sponsor only sees the de-identified ID. The company’s cloud-based communication platform enables sponsors to poll trial participants selectively, while gathering all the clinical data that form the basis of the trial.

“’Patients as partners’ is the theme of what we’re doing,” says Norris. The company will offer its tools to both drug sponsors and to CROs, and is about to engage with a leading pharma company in a four-year study of therapies for arthritis. The value of “relationship management” in clinical trials is still to be seen, but the concept opens up interesting possibilities in chronic care and rare diseases, where trials are an ongoing part of a drug’s commercialization.