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Pharma Company Seeking Digital Tech Partners

Smart watch

(Oliur Rahman, Pexels)

2 June 2017. Drug maker AstraZeneca is seeking partners to develop solutions with digital technology to accelerate clinical trials and improve health outcomes for patients. The deadline for proposals is 7 July 2017, but funds awarded for winning entries will negotiated separately.

The call for partners is conducted through InnoCentive in Walthan, Massachusetts that provides open-innovation, crowdsourcing competitions for corporate and organization sponsors, in this case AstraZeneca. Free registration is required to see full details of the competition.

AstraZeneca, an international pharmaceutical company, says it wants to take better advantage of emerging digital technologies, including mobile apps, wearables, and big data analytics, to meet needs and expectations of patients for more personalized health care. The company is also eager to apply technology to improve the process of recruiting participants in clinical trials, a key stage in the development of new drugs.

AstraZeneca says proposals should include ideas for integrating digital technologies into its current disease areas: cancer, cardiovascular conditions, metabolic disorders, and respiratory diseases. The company is also working in the fields of autoimmunity, neuroscience and infectious diseases. While AstraZeneca is looking for early-stage ideas in applying digital technology to the pharmaceutical industry, some initial evidence showing the ideas in action is also requested.

InnoCentive calls this type of competition an electronic request for proposals, or eRFP, where participants already have some form of the technology that can be applied to the sponsor’s requirements. These first proposals should be no more than 10 pages and offer only non-confidential information. Unlike most open-innovation challenges, an eRFP does not have fixed prize amounts, but financial and intellectual property terms are negotiated individually with participants submitting proposals selected by the sponsors.

AstraZeneca says open innovation is a key part of its collaboration strategy, and used InnoCentive’s services in the past. This challenge, however, is the company’s first such competition in 2 years.

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