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DrugDev Acquires TrialNetworks as 'Tech Glue'

By Clinical Informatics News Staff  
May 5, 2014 | DrugDev announced this morning that it has acquired TrialNetworks. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the transaction was supported by investment from Invesco Perpetual. 
TrialNetworks hosts what it calls the industry’s only cloud-based clinical trial optimization platform. TrialNetworks’ CEO Eric Silberstein says the company has been striving to improve clinical trial operations step by step, offering individual tools for each point in the workflow. 
“We feel that we’ve created a really good technology platform changing how the sponsors we work with think about clinical trial operations and site communications and project management—all sorts of things that were historically done by using armies of people and lots of spreadsheets,” Silberstein told Clinical Informatics News. “DrugDev has a very similar vision in terms of use of technology to run trials more efficiently, but they’re larger and they’re going about it in a way that has a much wider reach. From our perspective, this is about getting our technology platform into the hands of many more people.” 
The TrialNetworks platform was awarded a Bio-IT World Best Practices Honorable Mention award last week at the Bio-IT World Conference and Expo. The suite of tools includes TrialNetworks News, Checklist, Directory, Visit Guide, Library and Training apps. Each is designed to improve processes, ensure transparency and streamline timelines for a key aspect of clinical operations. Users can engage all of the company apps, or only some of them. 
In an interview in October, Chris Conklin, associate director of clinical research, global trial optimization at Merck & Co., said the big pharma was using the TrialNetwork platform on two studies covering eight sites and over 1,000 users.  
Conklin called his experience with the platform “very positive”. TrialNetworks, “does a number of things for us. Most importantly, it makes our communications more streamlined and effective,” he said then. “I’ve been impressed with the quality of their developers,” he said. “I think they have really good developers that are very responsive and very fast. They go out of their way to have their users help build product enhancements.”
For DrugDev, the trial operations tools fit into the company’s vision to offer a standardized approach to clinical trials that supports investigators, more closely connects doctors and investigators, and results in faster, smarter and more cost-effective trials. 
DrugDev already offered site services to execute feasibility studies, find appropriate sites and create investigator communities for pharmaceutical companies and CROs; and hosted an Investigator Databank used by Merck, Janssen, Pfizer, Lilly and Novartis. 
“DrugDev is in the business of finding best-in-breed technologies to improve the clinical trials process, and in short, we searched a long time for a company like TrialNetworks,” said DrugDev president and CEO Ibraheem Mahmood. The company believes more technology and more standardization will speed clinical trials, Mahmood told Clinical Informatics News, and improve clinical trial outcomes. 
This is the second acquisition for DrugDev in the past eight months. In October 2013, the company acquired CFS Clinical, which offers technology-enabled investigator payments and site activation services. Today’s acquisition of TrialNetworks, “continues DrugDev’s strategy of assembling a unique offering of best-in-class solutions to solve longstanding inefficiencies in the industry,” the company said. 
“The first technology we acquired was around payments to investigators, [CFS]… and we are looking at a number of other areas. But while we were looking at it, we realized we also need a consistent front end. We need the technological glue that will bind together all of these offerings. I think that is TrialNetworks,” Mahmood said. 
TrialNetworks offered not only individual tools to address problems that the company wanted to solve—like training and communications—but also a horizontal platform. “They will be system that will glue together all of the bits of technology that we acquire,” Mahmood said.  
TrialNetworks will continue to be led by its existing management team based in Newton, Mass. 


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