The drug store giant Walgreens (Nasdaq:WBA) has launched a clinical trial business aimed at optimizing patient experience, recruitment and clinical trial diversity.
Deerfield, Illinois–headquartered Walgreens will offer both in-person and virtual care clinical trial options.
In a press release, Walgreens underscored FDA’s push to improve racial and ethnic diversity in clinical studies. In 2020, three-fourths of clinical trial volunteers were white, and only 11% were Hispanic, while fewer than 10% were Black and Asian, according to FDA.
Walgreens intends to use pharmacy and patient-authorized clinical data to match diverse patient populations to clinical trials in an array of disease areas using race, gender, socioeconomic status and location data.
Walgreens also promises to help drug developers improve patient recruitment and enrollment in clinical trials. The company operates almost 9,000 stores. More than half of them are based in socially vulnerable areas.
“Through the launch of our clinical trials services, we can provide another offering for patients with complex or chronic conditions in their care journey, while helping sponsors advance treatment options for the diverse communities we serve,” said Ramita Tandon, chief clinical trials officer, Walgreens, in a statement. “This is yet another way we are building our next growth engine of consumer-centric healthcare solutions.”
The company also intends to help pharma and biotech companies use real-world evidence and informatics in clinical trials to inform drug development strategies, clinical trial design and execution.
In a related vein, Walgreens has created a COVID-19 index that has influenced national and local responses to the pandemic.
Walgreens has also established a smart care coordination service known as Pluto Health that integrates healthcare information from sources such as medical records, social determinants of health and insurance claims.
“Pluto Health was co-created within the healthcare community to make the provision of care achievable and more equitable for more people with better care coordination,” said Dr. Joy Bhosai, Pluto Health CEO, in a statement. “As a part of our primary goal to coordinate care and support patients on their terms, we are thrilled to play a part in making the latest medical advances more accessible. It’s time to accelerate healthcare access for all patients, from all walks of life, and from anywhere in the nation.”
To help lead the new business, Walgreens has made several new hires. Kendal Whitlock will serve as head of digital optimization, RWE clinical trials. John Campbell has joined as head of decentralized clinical trials. Liam Wood will serve as head of product, RWE clinical trials. Adam Samson will serve as the head of clinical delivery operations, RWE clinical trials.
In early afternoon trading, WBA shares fell 1.30% to $40.20, while the Nasdaq Composite index was down 3.83%
Filed Under: clinical trials, Drug Discovery