News from China, Europe-Based CROs, AI in Clinical Research, New Products

June 1, 2021 | University of Oxford launches a new Pandemic Sciences Centre, PPD opens China lab, IQVIA reports on R&D trends, research partnerships for AI in clinical research, and new products from TripleBlind.


The University of Oxford is launching of a new center of global research collaboration and excellence, the Pandemic Sciences Centre. The Centre’s mission will be to ensure that the world is better equipped to create global, and equitable science-driven solutions to prepare for, identify, and counter future pandemic threats. Within Oxford, the center will draw together academics and experts from across its research and innovation community, including from infectious diseases, vaccinology, immunology, structural biology, diagnostics, drug discovery, clinical trials, data science, public health, and social and political sciences. Nationally and internationally, the Centre will foster a multisectoral approach and invest in agile platforms and partnerships. The center will focus on three core themes: accelerating understanding and insights: generating actionable knowledge and data (from pathogens through to patients) in near 'real-time' and making this globally accessible; translating research into real-world solutions: creating and deploying effective, acceptable and equitable health technologies, including digital tools, diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines; and enhancing confidence, trust and impact:  identifying ways to strengthen societal and political engagement, resilience, and responsiveness. Press Release.

The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science has released a new report: Global Trends in R&D: Overview Through 2020. Despite significant disruption and reprioritization of clinical trial activity during 2020 due to COVID-19, R&D activity levels remained at historically high levels, driven by new funding and strategic transactions, especially within oncology, according to the report. The institute found that clinical development productivity increased slightly in 2020 but remains at historically low levels because of rising trial durations, complexity of disease targets and their associated trial protocol designs, and declining success rates, late-stage pipeline continued to grow in 2020, and funding for early- and late-stage R&D increased significantly in 2020, unaffected by the disruptions of COVID-19. The full version of the report, including a detailed description of the methodology, is available at The study was produced independently as a public service, without industry or government funding. Press release.

AdventHealth and Sema4 have announced a wide-ranging collaboration that builds upon the current AdventHealth Genomics and Personalized Health Program to provide new research insights and to prevent, detect and treat disease in their patients. Initially, AdventHealth and Sema4 will focus on accelerating research in AdventHealth’s Orlando-area network, which includes more than 20 hospitals and emergency departments, and accounts for more than two million patient visits annually. AdventHealth and Sema4 will conduct data structuring and curation of the combined genomic and clinical data, which, along with Sema4 investigative tools, will allow clinicians and scientists to advance research and discovery. The collaboration will use Centrellis, Sema4’s secure, holistic cloud-based health intelligence platform, in this effort. Sema4 will apply artificial intelligence tools to structure and integrate the longitudinal patient data with the molecular testing data, developing a data set and disease network models that assist in predicting the development of disease and response to treatments. Press release.

10x Genomics has expanded its Visium Clinical Translational Research Network (CTRN) with 30 new researchers, bringing the total to 75 members. The new researchers were selected globally and represent a number of key translational research institutes such as MD Anderson, Fred Hutch, Institut Gustave Roussy, Novo Nordisk, and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Oncology is the primary research focus for most of the members, but others work in cardiovascular research, neuroscience, fibrosis, and maternal-fetal health. As members of the Visium CTRN, researchers gain exclusive access to a collaborative, global research community dedicated to accelerating clinical translational research workflows, as well as substantial discounts and specialized support relating to the 10x Genomics Visium platform. More information.

FAST BioMedical has announced the completion of an open-label study using its technology in chronic dialysis patients. The goal of the study was to use FAST BioMedical’s technology to determine total volume removal before and after dialysis treatment by measuring both plasma volume and interstitial volume. Although this was a preliminary Proof-of-Concept study for measuring interstitial volume in dialysis patients, the potential impact of measuring interstitial volume in all patients where volume is being managed is profound. Press release.

PPD has formally opened its new multipurpose laboratory in Suzhou, China, to support Western and China-based pharmaceutical and biotech companies managing China research studies. The 67,000-square-foot facility in the Suzhou New District, Jiangsu Province, offers bioanalytical, biomarker and vaccine laboratory services to support trials across all phases of pharmaceutical development. The company anticipates adding approximately 300 highly skilled professionals over the next three years as a result of the expansion. This new lab supplements the company’s existing Shanghai central lab, established in 2015. Press release.

Sensyne Health has announced two Strategic Research Agreements in the U.S. with St. Luke’s University Health Network, serving patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine, a partnership between non-profit health system UCHealth and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Both agreements will enable the ethical application of clinical AI research to improve patient care and accelerate medical research. Press release for St. Luke’s. Press release for CCPM.

Healthcare AI company Olive is partnering with ASUS, a leading global consumer electronics company with a growing portfolio of healthcare products and services, to bring AI medical coding assistant ASUS Miraico to healthcare providers via the Olive Helps platform. The partnership combines ASUS’ customer-first mindset and technical competencies with Olive’s deep expertise and proven track record in improving healthcare operations via workflow automations. ASUS Intelligent Cloud Services (AICS), a newly formed software division within ASUS, is working with providers to reimagine care delivery, and accelerate the transformation of a data-driven and AI-enabled healthcare ecosystem with AI services such as ASUS Miraico, the world's first medical coding AI assistant to capture the complete patient journey. Already deployed in select hospitals, ASUS Miraico, an ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision) AI coding assistant, has greatly improved medical coding productivity and accelerated revenue cycle workflows within hospitals. The inclusion of ASUS Miraico as a function within the Olive Helps platform (a platform providing human workers with real-time intelligence) will further streamline hospitals’ revenue cycle management processes. With the addition of Miraico, Olive Helps can further analyze clinical terminology in medical records, increase efficiency in diagnostic-related group (DRG) assignment processes, and automatically recommend the most relevant and accurate ICD-10 codes. Press release.

TripleBlind has created an innovative approach to data de-identification via one-way encryption that allows all data attributes to be used, even at the patient level, while eliminating any possibility of the data user learning anything about the patient’s identity. Its patented breakthroughs in advanced mathematics give healthcare organizations the ability to share PHI, health records, genomic and other data, unlocking the ability to conduct a wide range of data operations, such as data analysis, algorithm development and algorithm validation. Blind de-identification does not alter the fidelity of the data. Press release.

LINK Medical, a Northern European clinical research organization (CRO), and Medaffcon Oy, a service and research consultancy company based in Finland, are collaborating to provide customers with integrated, full-service Real World Evidence (RWE) and Market Access support across all Nordic countries. LINK Medical and Medaffcon’s partnership will offer customers extensive experience in RWE and Market access to all the Nordic countries, providing a full-service offering to their customers, including full-scale RWE studies, single technology assessments, pricing assistance, and strategic advice. This will enable their customers to increase the value of their products across all the Nordic countries throughout the whole product lifecycle. LINK Medical’s RWE and Market Access department has experience and presence in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden while Medaffcon is based in Finland, and has experience throughout the Nordics. The collaboration will establish a local presence in Finland for LINK Medical, and a stronger Nordic offering for Medaffcon. Press release. LINK Medical has also recently expanded its regulatory team with appointment of new regulatory directors in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Press release.

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