Keeping tabs on Covid-19: AI-assisted clinical trials and virtual R&D webcasts for vaccine developments

As Covid-19 continues to disrupt day-to-day operations in economic management and business development, Pharma IQ explore solutions to ensure the pharma industry is prepared to mitigate the effect of the pandemic in R&D

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One of the more heartening responses to the global pandemic has been the fast reaction of pharma companies implementing new digital solutions and online services to tackle Covid-19. The industry has come together with initiatives to help scientists detect coronavirus and stop epidemics at an early stage and improve patient care with respiratory symptoms.

This week’s round up looks at new digital solutions in research and development (R&D) that are facilitating increased innovation and digital transformation within the pharma industry.

ERT accelerates clinical trials and medical research with AI-assistance

Clinical trial technology service ERT has collaborated with Dynatrace, a software intelligence company, to develop an AI-assisted process to optimize performance of clinical trial solutions and drive faster time-to-market for new treatments and vaccines.

Using the Dynatrace AI engine coined Davis, ERT can automate DevOps processes, monitor app delivery pipelines, and watch for errors, degradations and regressions in clinical trials. Davis automatically prioritizes any issues based on impact, saving developer’s time, and ensuring the DevOps team can find, understand, and resolve issues before they affect clinical trials.

According to Dynatrace, Davis can help ERT to speed up delivery of new applications, from an average of six weeks to as little as two weeks– including those it has developed to support two potential Covid-19 vaccine trials.

Simon Pilar, Director of IT Service Operations at ERT, said: “Our solutions are critical to our customers’ ability to get new, potentially life-saving treatments out of the laboratory and into hospitals and pharmacies.

“Given the high-stakes nature of their business, our customers can’t afford to miss important patient data or medical alerts during clinical trials, so we have to ensure the highest levels of quality, reliability, and performance in our solutions.

“At the same time, we need to challenge ourselves to continually increase the speed of innovation, to help our customers accelerate their trials. By providing advanced observability across our DevOps processes and app delivery pipelines, Dynatrace allows us to see the smoke before the fire starts to burn. We can stop bad code from ever reaching production, so it never becomes a problem.”

Traumakine treatment included in WHO's solidarity trial for Covid-19

Faron Pharmaceuticals has donated supplies of its investigational intravenous interferon (IFN) beta-1a for 2,000 patients in the World Health Organization's (WHO) Solidarity trial investigating potential Covid-19 treatments.

The global Solidarity trial is comparing the effectiveness of four drug options, including the Faron’s IFN beta-1a candidate, in combination with remdesivir, lopinavir and hydroxychloroquine. More than 90 countries are involved in the trial, which aims to discover whether any of the drugs will slow disease progression or improve survival.

Dr. Markku Jalkanen, CEO at Faron, said: “We are pleased that the WHO has included IFN beta-1a on its list of priority drugs to be tested against Covid-19, especially the IV form of the drug, which is what we believe critically ill patients need.

“One of the body's main first lines of defense against viral infection is endogenous IFN-beta production. We believe Traumakine treatment can further strengthen this natural defense with intravenous dosing of IFN beta-1a to provide optimal exposure to the lung vasculature and increase protection against serious lung complications.”

Additionally, Faron launched a virtual R&D Day webcast on June 16, to discuss the Traumakine treatment with R&D specialists and scientists alike to facilitate industry collaboration and deliver a vaccine to market faster.

Learn how to transform your pharmaceutical R&D strategies with experts from Bayer, LabTwin and Cytiva on June 3. Understand best practices to manage data using cloud technology in pharmaceutical R&D and dive into industry driven case studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of scaling cloud computing in the lab. Secure your free place and scale-up your digital lab solutions.