Building automation for site selection teams

Zina Sarif
28 feb 2024
5 min read

Today is a great day for science! A great day for Yendou and our mission to create the world’s first business automation platform for clinical operation teams in the life sciences.

We are here to build technologies destined to advance life sciences, and empower the operational productivity of clinical trials to slash the time it takes to develop new drugs in oncology. Empowered by the unwavering support of incredible investors and business angels, our audacious vision is turning into tangible reality.

snapshot of an electronic Site Record on Yendou

Why it Matters: Addressing Critical Challenges in Medical Innovation

In the last half-century, while the world has witnessed remarkable advancements in technology, the pace of medical innovation has remained stagnant. Despite promising initiatives, such as Congress's pledge in 1970 to conquer cancer within six years, victory remains elusive even after 50 years. Moreover, high-income countries are grappling with declining life expectancies and a surge in non-ageing-related diseases. These challenges underscore the urgent need for increased investment and an accelerated pace in medical innovation. However, the increasing timelines and costs associated with clinical trials pose significant obstacles, averaging 12 years and $1.2 billion per therapeutic. Under these constraints, meaningful progress in healthcare for humanity is unattainable.

Fixing the Site Selection and Study Startup Problem

There are a variety of reasons why clinical trials are lengthy and costly. However, during my time at AstraZeneca, I came across a problem that hasn’t gained much attention in the past. A problem consuming a third of the clinical trial timeline and a quarter of its budget: The Site Selection and Study Start-Up Process

snapshot of an electronic Site Record on Yendou

Understanding Site Selection and Study Start-Up

Imagine you've discovered a breakthrough therapy for breast cancer. You’ve done all the lab and animal tests, and the data looks great. Now, it's time for human trials— a must-have to bring this medicine to market and to patients.

You request a clinical trial permit and receive a “yes”, but here's the catch - you are a scientist, and your role is to develop therapeutics. Testing therapeutics in cancer patients means treating them, and that's the job of a specialist physician, in this case, an oncologist. So you embark on a journey to search, select and hire specialist physicians to test your therapeutic in patients at their clinics, the” clinics sites”. This process is called Site Selection!

Once you’ve got the clinic sites lined up, you need to begin the study start-up phase, which is the process of hiring specialist physician-investigators, equipping their clinics with the requisite materials and preparing their staff to get ready to run your clinical trial. This process is called Study-Start-up!

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The Challenges and Consequences of Site Selection and Study Start-Up

Site Selection and Study-Start-up are hard to design, plan and execute. It is hard to find the right clinician-investigators that have the relevant skills, and even when you do find them, getting and staying in contact with them is tough. You have to keep on top of thousands of information work streams at once – ensuring timely commencement of pivotal clinical trials and that the delivery of experimental therapeutics goes to the right patients, exactly when the patient needs it.

snapshot of an electronic Site Record on Yendou

Site Selection and Study-Start-up are ultra marathon races in information collection - structuring, transferring, and keeping track of these data streams is a tedious process full of manual steps and repetitive work. Site Selection and Study-Start-up alone takes up to 2 years for a phase III clinical trial. This can be a deadly waiting time for the patient with advanced cancer searching for an experimental cure. It is also frustrating for researchers, for whom collecting new information is important to improve science.

Our Solution - Fixing Stakeholder Collaboration in Clinical Trials

At Yendou, we believe in the power of information in augmenting the speed and scale at which pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers deliver the best healthcare options to patients. We believe in the power of cross-stakeholder collaboration to increase the productivity of clinical trials and improve the relationship between sites and life sciences companies dependent on them. Therefore, we are mapping research sites globally and creating a common infrastructure, enriching our site database with detailed information and automations, to enable researchers to make data-driven decisions about which sites to use.

Our Solution - Impact and Early Successes

Since Yendou’s launch in March 2023, our product has rapidly gathered attention and adoption from over 1,200 oncology investigators in 46 countries. This demand underscores the platform's global appeal and efficacy. Building on this success, we introduced a personalized platform for biotech and pharmaceutical companies in a closed, exclusive beta offering. This offering enables life sciences companies to connect, select, and onboard clinical trial sites for Phase II and Phase III oncology trials seamlessly.

Here, what  the head of study startup at a Big30 Pharmaceutical company, thinks of Yendou:

"Yendou is a game-changer for us. The CDA management feature alone saves us weeks of work. It's amazing how Yendou transforms our chaotic processes into efficient, streamlined operations. Truly, a competitive advantage in our field."

We like to think of ourselves as Salesforce for R&D teams in life sciences, offering a unique value proposition by providing a curated pool of qualified clinical leads at their fingertips. We are creating a knowledge automation platform for clinical researchers to eliminate repetitive work, empowering teams to consolidate information and accelerate the pace of clinical trials delivery to clinics.