AstraZeneca has signed a five-year deal with PatientsLikeMe for access to the network’s 325,000-plus members, in an attempt to bring patient-centric evidence into the heart of drug discovery and development.

The drug giant said it intends to feed patient-reported data from PatientsLikeMe into medicine development, to boost outcomes across its main therapeutic areas, focusing on respiratory disease, lupus, diabetes and oncology in the first instance.

“Understanding what patients are experiencing every day and how they define the value of their treatments are fundamental to our ability to push the boundaries of science in developing the next-generation of medicines,” said Briggs Morrison, head of Global Medicines Development at the firm.

AZ joins others such as Genentech and Actelion in the bid for access to real-world experience, and its move sits well with the increasing necessity for drugmakers to prove the value of their medicines in order to pass global cost-effectiveness assessments.

Further aspects of the deal were not disclosed.