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Chemist Warehouse will assist ObvioHealth with recruitment for its clinical trials
ObvioHealth, a virtual research organization (VRO) that provides a decentralized clinical trial (DCT) app, which can be downloaded onto a smartphone so that anyone can participate in clinical trials from anywhere, has been making it a key priority to expand into the Asia–Pacific (APAC) region.
That expansion included a partnership with Oracle last year, and now the company has announced a new partnership, this time with Chemist Warehouse, Australia's largest chain of retail pharmacies, to go further into the region.
"APAC – especially Australia – continues to be an attractive market for clinical trial sponsors. The Australian government has taken steps to bring more clinical research to the country. This includes providing a tax rebate for conducting trials there and a streamlined regulatory framework," Ivan Jarry, CEO of ObvioHealth, told VatorNews.
"In addition, the data captured through a trial in Australia is accepted by other regulatory agencies. That’s why we want to provide solutions for sponsors to conduct trials in Australia. We have an office and a great team located there."
The partnership is intended to give sponsors easier access to a wider pool of participants by driving awareness about trials to Chemist Warehouse's customers in Australia. Chemist Warehouse will provide multichannel, targeted communication, including in-store and online touchpoints, to its customer base to promote ObvioHealth-managed trials. Participants will be informed about trials through TV show, wellness magazine, and newspaper editorial inserts.
As part of the collaboration, ObvioHealth can also use Chemist Warehouse's telehealth services, Instant Consult, for studies that require clinician assessments, reducing participant burden by eliminating the need for them to travel to in-clinic visits.
What Chemist Warehouse really provides is last mile access to the Australian consumer, Jarry explained.
"As trial sponsors increasingly look to Australia to conduct their research, we’re excited to offer a solution to overcome their biggest roadblock—finding and enrolling the right patients. Recruitment consumes more time and resources than any other aspect of a clinical trial and, yet, approximately 11 percent of clinical sites fail to enroll a single participant," he said.
"Two of the biggest recruitment hurdles are awareness and convenience, and this partnership tackles both. The ability to communicate trial opportunities to an audience in a place where they are likely to be receptive, coupled with telehealth services to reduce participant burden, makes sense all around."
Jack Gance, Chemist Warehouse's co-founder and Chairman, meanwhile, told VatorNews hat he sees the partnership as a logical extension of the company's complete line of clinical health and provider services.
"Many clinical trials enable people to participate remotely, from the comfort of their homes, using ObvioHealth’s technology. In some cases, this may eliminate the need for a brick and mortar venue. In cases where a visit with a clinician is necessary, Chemist Warehouse can offer telehealth services through partner, Instant Consult. Going forward, there may also be the opportunity for certain Chemist Warehouse outlets to offer visits with clinicians for certain tests or assessments as we increase our clinical offerings," he said.
"The most challenging part of clinical trials is often recruitment of participants. Chemist Warehouse is in direct contact with 500 thousand people per day who visit Chemist Warehouse’s retail outlets and website and who would be interested in clinical trials if only they knew they existed."
Chemist Warehouse, which has 500 stores in Australia, and employs over 20,000 people, is estimated to fill 25 percent of all prescriptions in the country, representing more than 70 million prescriptions annually. It sees approximately 180 million customers every year, each of whom is a potential trial participant.
Founded in 2017, ObvioHealth runs trials via a centralized virtual clinical platform, accompanying participants through every step of the journey, from enrollment to helping them complete tasks, and also validating data capture.
The company works with sponsors to design, run, analyze and deliver trials. Its platform includes tools for recruitment and prescreening, while also overseeing the shipment and return of supplies and/or devices to and from the patient's home. It also handles participant payments, while also helping participants to capture and record their data in order to increase compliance; coordinates doctor, lab and imaging appointments, as well as home, site, or telehealth visits; and provides real time monitoring and reporting.
In the last year, ObvioHealth extended its partnership with Oracle from being APAC-only to a global partnership, meaning ObvioHealth is now the sole DCT partner for Oracle. The two companies will be releasing a multi-site, multi-language integration solution in the first quarter of next year.
The company is currently conducting trials in the CNS, GI, vaccine, respiratory and pediatric spaces, and it was ranked for the third straight year to Inc 5000’s list of the nation’s fastest growing companies.
Ultimately, the goal of partnering with Chemist Warehouse is to bring innovative therapies to market more rapidly and cost effectively, Jarry said.
"The Australian government has worked to make their market more attractive to sponsors. Chemist Warehouse and ObvioHealth will help to make these trials more accessible to everyday people."
"Both ObvioHealth and Chemist Warehouse have been founded based on the need to deliver more efficient and effective health services. Both companies are highly innovative and willing to think out of the box," said Gance.
"No one knows the Australian therapy customer better than Chemist Warehouse, and ObvioHealth launched the first decentralized clinical trial in the country. So the partnership immediately felt obvious to both of us."
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