ConcertAI/JanssenA multi-year partnership between Janssen Research & Development (NYSE: JNJ) and ConcertAI (Cambridge, Mass.) will focus on using real-world data and AI for oncology applications involving multiple cancer types.

ConcertAI will work “almost an extension of [Janssen’s] R&D development process,” said Jeff Elton, CEO of the company. The two companies’ teams will work closely together with ConcertAI providing data, technology and clinical data scientists.

The two companies began working together in late 2019 and have since partnered on a number of programs, some of which progressed to the clinic, regulatory submissions and regulatory approvals.

Elton said that the recent collaboration is “a major expansion of what we first put into place in 2019.”

ConcertAI and Janssen are also working together to support clinical trial diversity. “We’ve been using some specialized data sets to ensure that clinical trials didn’t unwittingly exclude certain racial/ethnic minorities from clinical trials,” Elton said.

That effort will also ensure that clinical trial designs involving cancers that disproportionately affect minorities reflect that fact. “You want to make sure that the diversity of the participants matches the diversity of the population that will ultimately receive treatment from newly approved medicines,” Elton noted.

ConcertAI has amassed independently sourced real-world data (RWD) for oncology, hematology and urology, and has a network of healthcare equity experts and advocates.

Janssen and ConcertAI will also partner to expand patient access to trials in new sites.

Elton observed that while academic medical centers remain vital for their contributions to clinical trials, community-based settings are growing in importance. Some 85% of patients receive care in community-based settings, Elton estimated.

Making clinical trials available in community-based settings also can lead to tangible improvements in cancer patients’ lives, Elton said. “People who may get treated for cancer may have childcare, eldercare or work responsibilities,” he said. “If people [participating in a clinical trial] have to fly or stay in hotels when they receive treatment in an urban center, it’s not very practical, and it’s extremely expensive.”