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HealthCarePoint Announces Completion of Testing on Collaborative Platform Used by ACRES

The Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES) has endorsed the standard clinical trial agreement (CTA) template created by Model Agreements & Guidelines International (MAGI), striving to break one of the primary bottlenecks in research study startup, the contract negotiation process. In 2004, MAGI initiated a collaborative effort to create a CTA template that would be widely accepted, a significant challenge given the diversity of sponsors, sites and CROs in the industry.

"ACRES is all about like-minded, systems-focused organizations and people working together and leveraging the good work being done across the clinical research landscape. Our collaboration with MAGI is a good example, capitalizing on the valuable work done by this multi-stakeholder group over the past few years to create a tool set that benefits everyone. This is critical since every day of delay is a very costly impediment to the development and availability of new medicines," said ACRES CEO and co-founder, Greg Koski.

ACRES collaboration with MAGI is one of many bringing a collection of open-source tools to sites, CROs and sponsors to increase efficiency, promote standardization and facilitate the start-up process for clinical trials, all of which will result in significant savings in time and money while enhancing site productivity and sustainability, as well as quality. The clinical trials contracting process is challenging for all parties involved in the clinical research endeavor and a "master file" approach to establishing clinical trials agreements represents a significant advance over previous approaches.

In addition to creating the 11-page CTA template, MAGI has educated industry professionals about CTAs and certified Clinical Research Contract Professionals (CRCP).
“Real estate lawyers can negotiate $30-million transactions in three hours, while we spend three months negotiating $30,000 transactions. There is now a general consensus that the time for a standard CTA template has arrived. Other model CTA initiatives have recently emerged, which we welcome as part of the process of reaching an industry-wide consensus. We can agree to save lives,” added Norman Goldfarb, MAGI Chairman.

MAGI joins the growing list of nearly 200 organizations and individuals that are teaming up with ACRES and each other worldwide on diverse collaborations to improve the safety, quality, transparency and cost-effectiveness of the clinical research undertaking and to accelerate medicines development.

Despite a decade of numerous disruptive, innovative or transformative efforts attempted by the enterprise, serious challenges remain and progress has been limited by the failure to transparently connect and integrate these efforts. ACRES is working to overcome these limitations by providing an inter-connected, integrated, transparent, multi-stakeholder collaborative systems approach, and welcomes MAGI’s thoughtful and inclusive approach and innovative solutions.

GuideStar Clinical Trials Management, a company providing support services and strategies for clinical research programs around the United States, and the Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES), a multi-sector, non-profit organization building a multi-stakeholder-driven integrated global system for clinical research, today announced their partnership to expand site accreditation and uniformity across the clinical research community to promote and reward excellence.

As a Strategic Ally, GuideStar will collaborate with ACRES on its Site Accreditation Standards Initiative, a project to promote professionalism and sustainability among sites conducting research. The initiative—currently assembling teams across multiple performance domains including: patient and subject engagement and protection; site personnel; research integrity; facilities; information systems and data management; management and administration; as well as quality management—focuses on collecting and developing standards for research sites. It also is establishing independent third-party accreditation and offers opportunities for research sites to undergo self and peer evaluations.

GuideStar is knowledgeable in research operations from years of experience in the industry and working with nearly 100 health systems, hospitals and academic medical centers and will lend its expertise, including best practices, to the ACRES initiative. GuideStar will collaborate with other ACRES Allies in creating site-sustainability standards, registration of sites in a global network, site optics for self-review, and third party oversight of accreditation.

Shirley Trainor-Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer for GuideStar, expressed her enthusiasm about the partnership and the potential it brings. “As a clinical research services provider, the GuideStar team constantly strives to bring our clients guidance to optimize their research programs,” comments Trainor-Thomas. “By partnering with ACRES, we will contribute the solutions and best practices that promote sustainability for research sites around the globe. We are excited to join others in the industry in playing a role in this very important initiative for research sites and patients alike.”

Greg Koski, ACRES Co-founder and CEO, added, “There can be no global system for clinical research without well-prepared clinical research sites, sites of excellence. To create a world of high-performing professional sites we must invest in them and provide both incentives and rewards for their efforts. It is imperative for everyone that sites be given the tools and resources to help them achieve these goals, assistance which GuideStar is wonderfully qualified to give and we wholeheartedly welcome them to our ACRES group of Allies.”

The Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES), the global public-interest collaboration building a comprehensive system to transform clinical research, today announced a major second step toward full implementation of a multi-stakeholder shared information technology platform.

Technology solutions to enhance clinical trial performance are multiplying rapidly, but their usefulness is limited by their lack of connectivity and inter-operability. The new platform, dubbed Apollo, provides a shared infrastructure to support the functional integration of existing technologies, including electronic health records (EHRs), electronic data capture (EDC) systems and clinical trial management systems (CTMS), and to enable data exchange and aggregation critical for development and implementation of “big data” analytics essential for next-generation methods for remote monitoring and auditing, real-time pharmacovigilance, and continuous quality improvement enterprise-wide.

The first phase of the ACRES global IT platform, built on the BlueCloud® 2.0 Networking Technology developed by ACRES’ Austin-based strategic ally HealthCarePoint, provided a common platform for users worldwide to share vital research study documents, including training documentation and verifiable professional credentials essential for study start-up.

With nearly 1,000,000 current member-users in healthcare, research, and industry globally, the BlueCloud® is already benefiting sponsors, CROs, investigators, research sites, regulatory agencies and ethics committees worldwide. Now, the second phase of this global collaborative platform, spearheaded by ACRES strategic partner HealthIDx, includes initial roll-out of a federated trust framework for secure enterprise-wide identity management and single sign-on access to multiple end-user applications on the ACRES Apollo platform.

Apollo utilizes a proven cloud-based integration platform—originally developed by Detroit-based Covisint to support the complex supply chain, distribution and marketing logistics of the automotive industry—to enable seamless connectivity and inter-operability of multiple applications across the industry’s diverse stakeholders, including sites, sponsors, CRO/SMOs, regulatory agencies and supply chain providers and ethics committees.

“We are delighted to be working with ACRES and its many allies in this important effort,” said J. Scott Lowry, Founder and CEO of HealthIDx. “In this next phase, which includes secure cloud-based data exchange, aggregation, visualization, and analysis, we are addressing critical challenges of security, multi-user identity management, and fine-grain access control.” Lowry further noted that several technology applications, including the BlueCloud®, have been integrated via open APIs onto the ACRES Apollo platform and more such integrations are planned, including platforms of other organizations, thereby extending their power, connectedness and effectiveness.

“The ability to acquire and exchange data seamlessly among a wide array of EHR, EDC and CTMS platforms within a secure cloud-based environment and move them into shared data vaults where they can be used in real-time will support clinical research performance, quality, safety and oversight as never before,” said Greg Koski, ACRES co-founder and CEO. “Apollo provides the ability to achieve true connectivity among the many applications already in use, as well as new applications being developed, across the entire drug development and clinical trials endeavor, saving time and money for all, while creating innovative opportunities for creativity, efficiency and effectiveness.”

“This is a collaborative effort,” added ACRES COO Matt Whalen. “Rather than create a proprietary platform, ACRES is deploying a robust integration platform that can connect all stakeholders, whatever applications they currently use, in a timely and cost-effective manner. The power of this approach lies in what can be done through the application of soft systems engineering and the use of standards developed by organizations like OASIS, ICE, CDISC, GS1 and SAFE Biopharma.”

The Apollo platform also incorporates an “app store” to take advantage of the several technologies and point solution capabilities available to users, working in parallel with second-level integrations of EHR, EDC, CTMS and data management systems. A live demonstration of the Apollo’s robust systems capabilities for multiple high-value use-cases is planned in the second quarter of 2016. Additional applications from diverse providers are welcome.

Ethical GmbH, of Basel, Switzerland, a provider of Centralized Endpoint Adjudication solutions for clinical trials, and the Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES), Cambridge, MA, a multi-sector non-profit organization building a multi-stakeholder-driven integrated global system for clinical research, today announced their strategic partnership.

This new collaboration, which brings Ethical GmbH into the ‘ACRES Alliance', a rapidly growing collaborative of innovation-focused organizations spanning the global clinical research enterprise, focuses on improving data quality and processes in clinical research by leading standardization efforts in Endpoint Adjudication in clinical trials.

Endpoint adjudication plays a key role in the approval of new therapies by regulatory authorities. However the current process is plagued by a lack of standards when dealing with existing subjective endpoints and the inconsistent use of independent review committees across disease states. Also, the conventional paper-based nature of endpoint adjudication adds to problems with time-consuming, inefficient and error-prone processes due to loss of adjudication dossiers or deficiencies in the endpoint adjudication decisions.

"Ethical GmbH and ACRES believe process efficiency, optimum utilization of scarce resources and data quality are critical for high quality clinical trials", comments Mimmo Garibbo, Director, Ethical GmbH. "As part of the ACRES Alliance and Technology Consortium, we can work together to address industry challenges and help eliminate tedious duplications resulting in higher costs and delayed availability of critically needed clinical trial data."

The collaboration will initially explore opportunities for streamlining and improving the Endpoint Adjudication process effectiveness. Ethical GmbH's Endpoint Adjudication solutions bring the Ethical eAdjudication® Platform to ACRES shared global platform of integrated technologies to improve the integrity of data and reduce trial costs. Ethical GmbH and ACRES will also explore development of shared standards across service providers, stakeholders managing Endpoint Adjudication Committees and sponsors. Ethical GmbH will participate in ACRES' Foundation Initiatives related to quality management, contributing to the “dynamic accreditation” process being developed by the Alliance.

The Ethical GmbH's eAdjudication® platform will give ACRES access to a fully validated system that provides an electronic “paperless workflow”, a role-based management of permissions and related workflows, the real-time, direct and controlled access to the study status, data, documents and adjudication decisions. In addition, the built-in quality control and metrics enables the users to exercise the oversight that GCP demands.

ACRES President and CEO, Dr. Greg Koski, said, "We are dedicated to developing an open-access global network of shared technology platforms, standards and processes to enhance performance, quality and safety in clinical trials through integration of existing innovative technologies. We are delighted to welcome Ethical GmbH. Together we can drive standards and aligned workflows to benefit all stakeholders, including sites, academic and commercial sponsors, CROs and, especially busy experts dedicating time and resources to the classification of clinical endpoint data that ultimately supports the work of regulatory agencies and is in the best interest of patients."

Dr. Briggs Morrison, one of the world’s leading figures in drug development and immediate past Chairman of the Board of TransCelerate, an industry organization charged with improving the clinical trials process, will deliver the opening keynote address launching the Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES) inaugural SYNERGY event to be held in Boston, October 1-2, 2015.

A leading proponent of collaborative innovation and change, Dr. Morrison is also a member of the Executive Committee of CTTI (the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative sponsored by FDA) and is on the Board of ACRES (Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety).

Morrison will join other global leaders from across the biopharma endeavor and leading systems engineers in this inaugural event – an alternative to traditional presentations-driven conferences that is a hands-on, practical exercise in applied systems thinking to identify innovative systems-based solutions to benefit the entire multi-stakeholder clinical research community.

Announcing the keynote, Dr. Greg Koski, founder and CEO of ACRES, a non-profit multi-stakeholder collaborative working to establish an integrated, global system for clinical research said, “We are thrilled to have Briggs Morrison deliver the keynote address for this event. Perhaps more than any other senior leader in the industry, Briggs has been working to bring everyone to the table to work together to devise and implement innovative solutions to the challenges we are facing. He is a true systems-thinker, and I cannot think of a better individual to get SYNERGY off to a great start. He is a very special speaker that no-one will want to miss!”

Morrison recently joined Syndax as Chief Executive Officer in 2015. Prior to joining Syndax, he served as Executive Vice President, Global Medicines Development & Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca from 2012 to 2015, leading the company’s global, late-stage development organization and serving as a member of the AstraZeneca Senior Executive Team. Prior to joining AZ, Morrison held senior leadership positions at Pfizer and Merck.

Clinverse, Inc., provider of automated financial management technology solutions for clinical trials, and the Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES), a multi-sector non-profit dedicated to excellence in clinical research, announced today that they have formed a strategic partnership. This strategic alliance, focused on improving financial sustainability of clinical research sites, brings Clinverse’s investigator payment solutions to ACRES global site network.

ACRES uses an alliance model spanning the clinical trial industry to construct an integrated system for the timely and cost-effective conduct of clinical research globally. ACRES Alliance partners are developing an open access global network of clinical research sites, shared technology platform, and standards and processes for accreditation, performance and quality metrics.

Currently, the manual processes, including for financial operations, used widely across the industry are error prone and labor intensive. This results in inefficiencies and payment problems that negatively impact site productivity and delay research study start-up.

Clinverse’s technology solutions, including flagship product ClinPay®, address problems plaguing research sites — late or inaccurate payments to investigators — by automating the financial management of clinical trials. By implementing ClinPay, sponsors and CROs reduce workload, time, and related costs. ClinPay provides complete real-time, role-based visibility into and control over the financial status of clinical trials, including payments, invoicing, and cash management.

ACRES President and CEO, Dr. Greg Koski, welcomed Clinverse to the rapidly growing family of ACRES strategic allies. "More effective management of funds-flow throughout the clinical trial process is much needed, particularly as globalization impacts the endeavor. Through our strategic alliance with Clinverse, we intend to develop and implement these capabilities within a global system to benefit the stakeholder community – sponsors, CROs, sites, patients and service providers."

The international reach of both Clinverse and ACRES is an important element of their collaboration. ACRES system is global and, given world-wide issues with security, it is critical that integrated, secure on-line clinical trial payment technology solutions be thoroughly audited and approved by industry experts from a third party organization.

“Clinverse and ACRES share the common goal of streamlining clinical trial processes, including the payment process to sites,” said Steve Ayala, President and Co-Founder of Clinverse. “We believe that our strategic alliance with ACRES will complement and extend our global reach while fulfilling a critical need for the research community.”

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