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CVS teams up with decentralized clinical trial company Medable

Retail giant CVS is teaming up with unicorn digital clinical trial company Medable on a new initiative to grow clinical trial engagement at the former’s CVS MinuteClinics. 

The new effort will be run by the recently launched CVS Health Clinical Trial Services, and use Medable’s platform to help enroll patients and conduct clinical trials. The pair are pitching this program as a way to help boost diversity in clinical trials by tapping into Medable’s decentralized trial platform and CVS’ geographical reach. 

CVS’ new clinical trial service launched in May 2021 and is aimed at working with life science industries to boost research and real-world evidence. CVS said that the partnership with Medable will help it continue to develop its efforts in precision patient recruitment, clinical trial delivery and real-world evidence generation. 

WHY IT MATTERS 

Historically clinical trials have lacked diversity. In fact, according to a 2019 FDA report, 76% of clinical trial participants are white, 11% are Asian and 7% are Black.

“This dynamic collaboration with Medable will help us intensify our efforts to drive meaningful awareness and access to a broader population, in particular those with mounting chronic illnesses and the vulnerable populations who today are underrepresented in clinical research.

“Those populations often have limited access to healthcare, and therefore a greater chance of poor health and lower life expectancy. Over 40% of the vulnerable population in the U.S. lives within five miles of a CVS Pharmacy location, so we have a chance to engage them,” Tony Clapsis, general manager and senior vice president of CVS Health Clinical Trial Services, said in a statement.

THE LARGER TREND 

Investors have also taken an interest in Medable. In October, the company closed a $304 million Series D round led by Blackstone Growth, Tiger Global and GSR Ventures. That round brought the company’s valuation to $2.1 billion.

Just last week, the company announced its purchase of dermatology platform Omhu A/S for an undisclosed price

Meanwhile CVS has rolled out a number of digital efforts over the years. For example, in 2020 the company launched a telemedicine-enabled contact lens renewal service. In response to the pandemic, it also teamed up with Alphabet’s life science subsidiary Verily on an enterprise offering, which includes COVID-19 testing, symptom checking, clinical support, data analysis and app-based tools for staff. 

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