Novartis has launched a new app that enables patients taking part in ophthalmic clinical trials to self-report data, which could potentially speed up the development of new therapies.

FocalView is an ophthalmic digital research platform designed to allow researchers to track disease progression by collecting real-time data reported directly from consenting patients.

According to the Swiss drug giant, data capture in traditional ophthalmic clinical trials can be “inflexible and infrequent”, and thus adapting their design to better suit the daily routine of patients could encourage better participation, “leading to a more nuanced understanding of ophthalmic diseases and potentially accelerating the development of novel treatments”.

“Because patients with eye diseases are often not as mobile, FocalView has the potential to offer tremendous benefit for the ophthalmic community and for researchers looking to develop better treatments for these patients," said Dr Mark Bullimore, medical advisor for the creation of FocalView and Dean of the Southern California College of Optometry, Marshall B. Ketchum University.

"Collating validated patient-reported outcomes in clinical trial research is no longer a nice-to-have. This kind of data is fast becoming a critical element of research and development, because it offers a better reflection of real-world patient experiences, fosters better patient compliance and provides researchers with richer and more accurate data points."

Novartis says the app will be tested in a prospective, non-interventional study to evaluate its efficacy and usability in assessing visual function. Researchers will in turn look at its ease of use, level of enrollment and the ability to obtain important documentation for future clinical trial research, such as informed consent.

FocalView is also to be validated against traditional visual testing that takes place within conventional clinical settings.