LabCorp's latest deal hones in on digital clinical trials for drug development

The company's drug development CRO, Covance, will integrate Medable's software to expand its decentralized trial capabilities.
By Dave Muoio
03:15 pm
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Clinical lab and drug development giant LabCorp announced this morning a new deal that will streamline its adoption of virtual clinical trials.

The company's drug-development-focused contract research organization (CRO), Covance, will use digital clinical trial software-maker Medable's platform to fuel its patient and site interface. This will allow participants easy access to clinical trial apps, while ensuring stronger engagement, remote data-collection and system interoperability.

WHY IT MATTERS

LabCorp's Covance is among the largest drug development CROs in the world, offering a range of services across different therapeutic areas, development phases and product types. The company first unveiled its decentralized clinical trial system in late 2019, but the new deal suggests that these capabilities will be an even greater focus for the global CRO going forward.

“Working together, we can apply the full capabilities of LabCorp Diagnostics business, Covance, and our technology ecosystem to extend patient access, improve the patient experience, and accelerate timelines for clinical development,” Bill Hanlon, president of enterprise solutions at Covance, said in a statement. “We will continue to play a critical role as aggregators and integrators to provide customers with the access, flexibility, and scale necessary to enable global decentralized studies, and to rapidly innovate in ways that improve the patient experience and trial efficiency.”

Also of note, LabCorp told Reuters that it has seen a substantial number of participants dropping out of ongoing studies as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Decentralized digital trials would provide the company a way to keep these programs on track during the coming months.

THE LARGER TREND

Major pharmas and other drug development stakeholders are increasingly aware of the benefits digital clinical trials have to offer, so it's little surprise to see startups become increasingly active in the space. It was only weeks ago that Medable announced a $25 million funding round, which it said at the time would fuel new product development, partnerships and market adoption.

The startup is among a number of startups active in this space that includes Florence, which raised $7.1 million last fall, and Tekro, which brought in $25 million last year.

ON THE RECORD

"The LabCorp ecosystem powered by Medable leverages big data convenient research participation with home diagnostic testing and remote care and research participation," Dr. Michelle Longmire, CEO and cofounder of Medable, told MobiHealthNews in an email statement. "Patients can now leverage the full power of the ecosystem to conveniently participate in clinical trials on their own terms. We believe this advancement is paramount to broadening access to new investigational therapies and dramatically reducing clinical trial timelines."

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