Walgreens announces clinical trial offerings 

The drug store giant Walgreens (Nasdaq:WBA) has launched a clinical trial business aimed at optimizing patient experience, recruitment and clinical trial diversity.

Deerfield, Illinois–headquartered Walgreens will offer both in-person and virtual care clinical trial options.

In a press release, Walgreens underscored FDA’s push to improve racial and ethnic diversity in clinical studies. In 2020, three-fourths of clinical trial volunteers were white, and only 11% were Hispanic, while fewer than 10% were Black and Asian, according to FDA.

Walgreens intends to use pharmacy and patient-authorized clinical data to match diverse patient populations to clinical trials in an array of disease areas using race, gender, socioeconomic status and location data.

Walgreens also promises to help drug developers improve patient recruitment and enrollment in clinical trials. The company operates almost 9,000 stores. More than half of them are based in socially vulne…

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Axogen announces positive topline data from Phase 3 nerve graft study

Focused on developing peripheral nerve regeneration and repair products, Axogen (Nasdaq:AXGN) announced that the Phase 3 RECON study met its primary endpoint in comparing its Avance nerve graft to conduits in digital nerve injuries.

The primary endpoint was the return of sensory function based on static two-point discrimination. This test measures the ability to detect that two close objects touching the skin are distinct points.

“The study data confirmed that as gap lengths increased, Avance returned superior levels of sensation, and this was achieved at earlier time points than those observed for conduits,” said co-lead Investigator Dr. Jonathan Isaacs, professor and chair, division of hand surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Avance nerve graft also had a good safety profile in the study.

Axogen plans to submit a Biologics License Application (BLA) for the product in the second half of 2023.

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The COVID-19 effect: Research platforms require new capabilities

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

Like a Category 5 hurricane, COVID-19 has uprooted traditional clinical trial methods to clear space for emerging models and practices to grow and flourish. Three related and complementary trends will have a profound and lasting impact.

The shift to virtual/decentralized clinical trials. The popularity of decentralized clinical trials (DCTs) skyrocketed following the nationwide lockdown last March. With safety concerns a top priority, the FDA encouraged researchers to consider alternatives for patient assessments and data collection, including virtual visits. Since elements of the DCT model (full or hybrid) enable patient participation from their homes and can be integrated into any clinical trial, DCTs are fast becoming the new normal. The increasing utility and acceptance of real-world data. Real-world data (RWD) refers to data relating to patient health status and/or the …
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Is J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine linked to tinnitus? 

In Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) Phase 3 trial for the Ad26.COV2.S COVID-19 vaccine, six vaccine recipients developed tinnitus or ringing in the ears.

In five of those individuals, tinnitus had either resolved or was resolving. The condition was unresolved in the other trial volunteer.

No placebo recipients developed the condition.

J&J concluded that the tinnitus reports were likely unrelated to the vaccine. The principal investigator in the trial that two of the events were related and the remainder unrelated.

A 21-year-old volunteer involved in an earlier clinical trial for the J&J vaccine developed tinnitus and sudden hearing loss 34 days after receiving the vaccine. The patient recovered 69 days after receiving the injection. Johnson & Johnson also determined that the event was unrelated to the vaccine.

In all, some 43,783 volunteers participated in the Phase 3 trial. A total of 19,630 participants received the Ad26.COV…

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