On Tuesday morning, Verily, Alphabet’s unit focused on life sciences, announced that it had formed alliances with Novartis (NVS), Sanofi (SNY), Otsuka, and Pfizer (PFE) to work on clinical trials. What are those drug giants getting out of the deal? STAT sat down with Scarlet Shore, who leads Verily’s project Baseline, to learn about the company’s vision for the clinical trial of the future. The conversation took place at CNBC’s “Healthy Returns” conference, where the partnerships were unveiled.
Clinical trials have always been an obvious target for Verily as it tries to find a way to use technology to change health care. New devices can take years to develop. But right now, the process of conducting clinical trials is pockmarked with inefficiencies, requiring pharmaceutical companies and medical researchers to work with dozens of vendors while often keeping records in efficient ways — sometimes even using that least digital of formats, pen and paper. And Verily brings to the table the massive capacity to deal with large datasets. Its chief medical officer, Dr. Jessica Mega, previously ran large clinical trials that were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet.