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Data: the Rx to faster, patient-centric clinical trials

December 6, 2022
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Geri Studebaker

Director, Life Sciences Key Accounts, Google Cloud

Shweta Maniar

Director, Industry Solutions BioPharma, Google Cloud

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Out of necessity, the life sciences industry has accelerated the innovation and experimentation of drug and device development. The sector, which has traditionally been slow-moving when it comes to clinical trials—for reasons ranging from regulatory, to trial recruitment, to quality control—is now looking towards cloud technology to speed up the process and find new innovative ways to support R&D. 

With the shift towards patient-centric care delivery and the rapid growth of health data, the case for faster digitization in life sciences has never been stronger. However, there are still a few obstacles to overcome.

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Innovation roadblocks

The time and costs involved in clinical trials are enormous. The average clinical trial across therapeutic areas come out to:1

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With these barriers to having a new drug or device approved, it’s no surprise that more than 1 in 5 clinical trials fail due to a lack of funding.2

These clinical trials are also subject to stringent regulatory requirements, and the organizations conducting the study often lack efficient and secure ways to collect, store, and analyze data across trial sites. At the same time, siloed data and poor collaboration across sites make it harder to find valuable insights that could influence and accelerate outcomes.

The public will likely now greet life sciences companies with less patience for decade-long drug development cycles and more demands for retail-like transparency. Because the pharmaceutical industry needs to update its processes, meeting these expectations won’t be as simple as replicating the COVID-19 vaccine model. How, then, might the industry accelerate bringing new life saving treatments to the market safely and more quickly without a public emergency? Pharma companies now have to find new and innovative ways to conduct R&D more efficiently and drive products to market faster and more efficiently.

Google Cloud is empowering scientists throughout the drug discovery pipeline from target identification, to target validation, to lead identification. By combining the power of AlphaFold and Vertex AI, we are able to significantly decrease the time to process protein engineering and de-novo protein design. The value for researchers is immense and leads to: optimized compute resource time, maximized throughput, enhanced and comprehensive trackability and reproducibility. In short, we are enabling life sciences organizations to increase the velocity of protein design and engineering to revolutionize biochemical research and drug discovery.

Accelerate your clinical trials in the cloud

Google Cloud accelerates drug and device development by revolutionizing data collection, storage, and analysis to deliver life-saving treatments faster. It reduces enrollment cycle times through the expansion of clinical trial sites, research data management solutions, and Google’s cross-site collaboration solutions, including

  • Lowering the time and cost of clinical trials.

  • Complying with changing global regulations. 

  • Delivering seamless communication across trial sites.

  • Increase patient participation.

How Moderna boosted discovery with data

American pharmaceutical company, Moderna, needed an easier and faster way to access actionable insights. Data analysis required significant manual work and led to data silos across the organization.

Moderna decided to use Google Cloud for its multi-cloud data strategy and Looker for a more holistic view of its clinical trials. By integrating internal and external data sets, the company:

  • Gained a more complete view of clinical trials.

  • Increased scientific efficiency and collaboration.

  • Was able to make real-time decisions to ensure trial quality.

“Looker fits well with our multi-cloud philosophy because we can choose our preferred database and leverage integrations to make our data accessible and actionable.”Dave Johnson, VP of Informatics, Data Science, and AI at Moderna

Technology can be the enabler the industry needs in the effort to meet expectations for faster and better therapies for patients while keeping the process cost-effective for drug and device makers.


1. How much does a clinical trial cost?
2. National Library of Medicine

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