Under duress, biotechs will have to make hard decisions for patients and themselves about which trials to run
The COVID-19 crisis will make companies adopt clinical practices they should have embraced long ago
While COVID-19’s risk to clinical trials was initially a function of geography, the fallout for companies is now less a matter of where the studies are being run, and more about which patient population is involved, what resources are available and when the trials are due to start and read out.
Containment measures in major biotech hubs are putting broad swaths of preclinical research on hold, but biotechs are striving to stick to their clinical timelines, both as a matter of responsibility to patients and corporate survival.
With their fate at risk from the economic collapse, companies are being forced by the crisis to adopt innovative practices they should have been embracing long ago.
The question is whether that will be feasible. In the last week, over half a dozen companies announced they are pausing, halting or delaying trials.
The risk for trials has followed the spread of the disease from China to South Korea and Italy, and is now global (see “Growing Threat to Clinical Operations”).
BioCentury’s conversations with 16 executives and investors indicate that a clinical trial’s disease focus, infrastructure and timeline control whether it will stay on track.
“These technologies for making trials more efficient