Investing in a Community-Based Future

Inato Co-Founder and CEO, Kourosh Davarpanah, sat down with fellow industry leaders to address community-based solutions to the barriers disrupting clinical research.

Katy Fallon
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At the Building Community-Based Infrastructure for Inclusive Research virtual roundtables, Inato Co-Founder and CEO, Kourosh Davarpanah, sat down with fellow industry leaders to address community-based solutions to the barriers disrupting clinical research. The conversation confronted the lack of sustainable solutions designed to eliminate trial barriers and discussed strategies to combat these flaws with community organizations. A critical aspect of allowing this change to be put into action is the ability to support inclusive, community-based trials in a lasting way, not just as issues arise. 

As Davarpanah took the floor, he broke down how Inato’s approach to flipping the clinical trial model does just that. Prior to Inato’s model, there was a communication gap between trials searching for participants and researchers seeking trials for their patients. This gap left trials concentrated at large academic centers and patients having to travel to these select sites as their only option. Davarpanah explained how Inato’s platform erases that disconnect and empowers investigators to seek out trials that fit their patient database. He revealed that flipping this model works, saying, “What was amazing for us to prove to pharma companies was that, when you allow sites to focus on the right studies, they do really well.” He added that Inato has recorded global performances anywhere from two to ten times better than other sites in the same trial.

These numbers have yielded positive reactions from sponsors. Davarpanah, however, acknowledged that despite the story the numbers tell, a lack of trust persists. Sponsors are hesitant to trust that smaller sites have the capacity to recruit the number of patients they promised. It’s a realistic fear as often time sites don’t have the information required to ensure a trial truly fits the needs of the patients in their database. As Davarpanah explained, this dilemma has actually led to an increase in Inato’s transparency in early trial practices, “Sponsors are understanding more and more that, to reach more patients, you need to help the sites see what studies are the best for them and their patients. If you can do this across the industry, you start to build more trust.” The transparent trial opportunities on Inato’s platform permit sites to apply to only those they are confident they can perform in. 

On top of early, transparent information, a key part of building this trust is supporting the sites to succeed once they have been selected for a trial. They don’t have the unlimited resources that large academic sites do, which is why Inato takes the steps to provide support throughout the trial start up. It’s a valuable investment as Davarpanah explained, “They have massive structural advantages like being less administratively burdened which means they can activate faster.” It’s an appealing outcome for sponsors interested in expanding to community research centers. Even beyond speed, the innate nature of community-based sites and their trusted patient-physician relationships enable more diverse recruitment access. By leveraging the unique attributes of community sites, Inato grants sponsors the chance to access more high-performing sites and brings more trials to community patients everywhere. 

Davarpanah made clear that it is necessary to shift towards a future that sustainably values community research centers. It calls for a significant structural change from the industry, overhauling the current model so that the sites are in the position to seek out optimal opportunities for their patients. The power driving the future of the clinical research industry will not come from investing in individual trials but from investing in expanded reach to more communities across the globe.

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