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By Barry Lake, CEO & Executive Chairman of Devana Solutions LLC

March 6, 2017

Most of you will have read that Merck recently announced that its potential Alzheimer’s Disease treatment, Verubecestat, had failed in a clinical trial.

CNN article on Alzheimer’s Trials

This and (many) other failed trials for drugs to combat Alzheimer’s led to an article in the Wall Street Journal, examining what it called the “greatest unmet medical need in the US and the most frustrating challenge for the drug industry” – the search for effective Alzheimer’s treatments.

Wall Street Journal Article on Alzheimer’s

The Journal article notes that 400 Alzheimer’s trials have failed in the past 10 years at huge expense to the drug companies. It reported that Lilly took a $150m charge after its announcement last November that Solanezumab had failed in its trial.

I have written a lot recently about the need to lower drug prices, which can be at least partially achieved if the clinical trial process becomes more efficient and faster without losing any of the quality controls.

Lower drug prices are important. And not just because of the political pressure which is on the pharmaceutical industry at the moment.

Lower drug prices also mean access to treatments for a lot more people who are in dire need.

Reading the article about the search for a treatment of Alzheimer’s reminded me of this higher purpose that we all serve in the clinical trial business.

It’s easy to get lost in the commercial goals. Who gets the drug on the market first. Who gets to charge high prices. Who makes money. Who loses money.

But the real win is when our industry makes that breakthrough. Finds a treatment or cure for a disease that is causing pain to millions of people with enormous impact on their families.

The Journal article quoted the Alzheimer’s Association estimate that 5.4m people in the US have the disease and that the figure could triple by 2050 as the population ages.

I am proud of my own company, Devana Solutions, and its contribution to making the clinical trial industry smarter and more efficient.

I will undoubtedly return many times to commercial themes and outcomes.

But every now and again it is worth remembering that we serve a much higher purpose than merely making profit.

It’s likely that you all know a relative or friend suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

One day, I am confident our industry will find that breakthrough just as we have with so many diseases in the past.  I hope that Devana’s efforts will play a part in hastening that day.




Devana Solutions® is a SaaS provider driven by a core belief that data transparency and data analytics technology to aid in selection of the top-performing Research Sites to align with pharmaceutical sponsors and CROs is key to reducing drug costs and curing disease. Devana Solutions® IGNITE FOR SITES cloud-based technology adds value to top Research Sites by centralizing study leads and contacts, automating pipeline administration and study document tracking to cut management time in half while proprietary algorithms simultaneously track site timing and performance metrics from study lead through trial completion. With a couple of mouse clicks, these metrics can be standardized into robust reports for drug sponsors and CROs to validate the sites’ capabilities. Devana Solutions® MATCH PERFORMANCE reduces site selection risk for sponsors and CROs by providing dashboard and report capabilities not limited simply to a site’s historical trials; but, real-time site performance & timing metrics on currently running trials, improving trial feasibility and performance while reducing clinical trial cycle time and costs. Devana Solutions® technology is leading a transformation of the clinical trials industry and each investigative site’s “Devana Score” will become the “S&P Global Ratings”-equivalent for the clinical trials industry against which clinical trial performance by sites is measured. To learn more visit https://devanasolutions.com.