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September 26, 2019

23andMe partners with TrialSpark to combat clinical trial bottlenecks

By Lucy Ingham

Consumer genetics company 23andMe has announced a partnership with medtech company TrialSpark that will see the companies’ combined capabilities increase access to clinical trials.

While 23andMe’s vast collection of user DNA data allows it to run a second offering as a crowdsourced medical research platform, TrialSpark enables physician practices to become sites for clinical trials.

The partnership is designed to specifically address bottlenecks within the clinical trial process, in order to speed up and improve the quality of such trials. In particular it is hoped that it will resolve currently common issues around finding suitable patients and increasing their access – particularly in terms of distance – to clinical trials.

23andMe and TrialSpark are starting with a request for Phase II and Phase IV clinical trial proposals from would-be sponsors.

The companies are specifically seeking proposals addressing inflammatory diseases, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, endocrinology, dermatology, pulmonology, neurology, women’s health and rare diseases.

23andMe and TrialSpark take on patient recruitment

The partnership will focus on reducing issues surrounding patient recruitment.

At present, 48% of clinical trials fail to meet their enrolment targets, delaying results and even forcing some trials to be scrapped.

It is hoped the partnership will tackle this by making it easier to find potential participants, while localising where trials can be conducted so they are in closer proximity to those involved.

“23andMe’s unique model solves for the biggest challenge in clinical trials – patient recruitment,” said Emily Drabant Conley, PhD, vice president, business development, 23andMe.

“It’s game changing, because it is built around engaged customers who consent to participate in research, and it allows 23andMe to quickly find the right patients with the right conditions for clinical trials. Now with TrialSpark we are taking this one step further by enabling our customers access to clinical trial sites within their community.”

“TrialSpark has already made significant efforts toward expanding access to clinical trials by creating sites where patients live and with doctors they already see. With 23andMe we can empower even more patients to access clinical trials at their local doctor’s office,” added Benjamine Liu, CEO and co-founder of TrialSpark.

“This collaboration with 23andMe is a major step toward redefining modern clinical trials and accelerating the pace of medical discoveries. By using technology and a patient-first approach, we can run clinical trials with faster timelines and with operational consistency, ultimately bringing therapies to patients faster.”


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