Can the vogue of decentralized trials continue beyond the pandemic?
The pandemic is driving a shift toward decentralized clinical trials that both patients and companies need
Decentralizing clinical trials has become a must-do rather than nice-to-have during the pandemic, with hospital shutdowns and restricted access disrupting company programs and putting enrolled patients at risk. But a range of logistical challenges need to be solved before the trials become mainstream.
The idea of decentralizing clinical trials has long been attractive for its ability to reduce dependence on major academic medical centers and encompass a broader swath of patients.
Because the trials involve capturing clinical data remotely without requiring subjects to visit a centralized site, they make participation easier for more patients. They also improve recruitment and retention, an important benefit for drug developers.
Prior to the pandemic, the activation energy required to understand and install the necessary technology kept the trial formats low on the priority list for most biotechs, which had little motivation to stray outside the standard approach.
“Companies still have to do this. They have to make upcoming trials pandemic-proof, and that will bake this structure into the system.”
But with patients and pipelines at risk, decentralized trials provided an