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Reinventing clinical trials

An Erratum to this article was published on 07 June 2012

This article has been updated

As R&D costs spiral for drug developers, disruptive approaches to clinical trial design and management are gaining traction. Get ready for electronic data capture, precompetitive data sharing, virtual trials and a variety of bold new paradigms.

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Figure 1: Reasons for clinical attrition.
Figure 2: FDA drug approvals per year.
Figure 3: Your clinical trial is texting you.
Figure 4: Density of clinical trials worldwide.

Change history

  • 11 May 2012

    In the version of the article originally published, the ExoInTouch product being used by Pfizer in its virtual trial for overactive bladder (OAB) is eDiary, not Recruit, which allows patients to report through mobile phone or internet portals. The Recruit technology is being used in other studies. The text references to Recruit have been replaced with an explanation of eDiary. Instead of “new technology to recruit patients faster and in a more standardized fashion, ”the text now reads, “new technology to allow home-based clinical trial data reporting.” Instead of “‘Recruit’ text messaging technology in a pilot study” for Detrol, the text now reads, “‘eDiary’ tool in a Phase 4 trial, called Research on Electronic Monitoring of OAB Treatment Experience.” Additional explanation has been added, including “Patients can respond to simple questionnaires (Fig. 3) via their mobile phones or home computers. If they delay in responding, a reminder can be sent.” And for space reasons, other text relating to Recruit, “The tool is integrated with Pfizer’s volunteer database and allows immediate text message-based communication and assessment of a subject’s suitability within 5-10 min” and “It can also be used to send protocol-specific messages to patients already enrolled in trials” was deleted. In addition, it should have been noted that Eric Westin, who was interviewed while senior director of Lilly Oncology, had left the company. The errors have been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.


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Allison, M. Reinventing clinical trials. Nat Biotechnol 30, 41–49 (2012).

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