Drug Giant AstraZeneca Launches Evinova to Quicken Clinical Trials

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Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced on Monday the spin-off and launch of a new digital health company called Evinova. AstraZeneca says the new company will operate independently within the AstraZeneca ecosystem.

“The future of medicine development can be accelerated with digital solutions,” said AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot. “We believe Evinova’s combination of scientific expertise and track record in developing AI-enabled digital technologies at scale, provides a real opportunity to fundamentally improve patient care, drive healthcare transformation, and reduce carbon emissions.”

Digital health refers to technologies and applications designed to enhance healthcare delivery, patient outcomes, and the overall efficiency of the healthcare system. These technologies include wearable devices, remote care and telemedicine, smartphone applications, and virtual or augmented reality.

AstraZeneca said the digital health market is projected to be worth $900 billion by 2032 and that progress is vital in reducing healthcare costs. Yet the time and expense required to conduct clinical trials causes nearly 80% of them to fail, the company claims, noting that the average time between when a clinical trial starts to final approval is over seven years.

“The initial focus of Evinova is on the design of clinical trials and running those clinical trials,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson told Decrypt. Joining AstraZeneca in backing Evinova are North Carolina-based clinical research organizations Parexel and Fortrea.

Since the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT last year, artificial intelligence has become mainstream across multiple industries, including medicine, education, and defense. Tech giants Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Meta have invested heavily in artificial intelligence over the last year.

Evinova said artificial intelligence could speed up the process by helping teams design studies, automate cost calculations, and determine the feasibility of the trial based on regional and historical data.

Using AI, AstraZeneca said, can also speed up the decision-making process.

In October, at the annual Healthy Longevity Global Innovator Summit, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Research and Incubations Peter Lee said GPT-4—the latest version of ChatGPT—helped his family manage his elderly father’s health and explained to the family complex medical issues that had been the source of heated arguments.

“The ability for GPT to give us guidance just brought the temperature down and really kept family harmony,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, a study published in the international journal Nature suggested that AI models could be used to diagnose and remove central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Earlier this year, a UK-based biotech startup called Etcembly said it was using generative AI in an attempt to design novel immunotherapy to treat cancer cells.

“Coming from within the sector and with proven experience, Evinova will be uniquely placed to deliver science-based, evidence-led, and human experience-driven solutions with the aim of improving patient experience and outcomes,” Evinova president Cristina Duran said in a statement.

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