US trade group the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has linked up with the ViS Research Institute, a New York-based company specialising in data analytics for clinical-trial planning, to improve the efficiency of paediatric drug-development programmes.

Under the initiative, BIO and its member companies will tap into ViS’s online analytics platform to evaluate the global clinical-research infrastructure for paediatric programmes and identify paediatric patient populations.

The ViS platform offers multi-dimensional analytics for evaluating the capabilities of more than 400,000 disease-specific research centres worldwide.

Most challenging

“Innovative research approaches are needed to improve success in these most challenging pediatric drug development programmes,” commented Dr Ron Portman, chair of BIO’s Pediatrics Committee.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, around 60% of the disease burden for high-priority conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, malaria and HIV/AIDS is borne by children, whereas only about 12% of clinical trials are in paediatric populations.

While the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency require paediatric study plans before they will approve new therapeutics, drug developers “have difficulty finding qualified sites that can recruit patients for pediatric trials”, BIO pointed out.

Big data sources

Leveraging big data sources such as ViS Analytics can help drug developers to identify suitable patients, noted the trade group’s president and chief executive officer, Jim Greenwood.

This should lead to streamlined patient enrolment and site selection, “making it faster and easier to conduct pediatric clinical trials”, Greenwood said.