Jeff Kozloff, Chief Executive Officer at TrialScope discusses how clinical trial sponsors are seeking to connect better with patients. They have recently launched TrialScope Engage, a solution that enables sponsors to engage with patients, healthcare professionals, researchers, and the public via a dedicated clinical trial informational website in an easy to understand format.
Jeff is a serial healthcare entrepreneur with over 18 years of pharmaceutical experience. Before taking over as TrialScope CEO in 2018, Jeff served on the Company’s Board of Directors for more than two years. Prior to TrialScope, Jeff was the founder of two successful healthcare technology companies, HeroLinx and Verilogue. HeroLinx is an online crowdsourcing platform for accelerating clinical trial awareness and patient recruiting. Verilogue, which was acquired by Publicis (PUB:FP), is the global leader in the capture and linguistic analysis of physician-patient exam room dialogues. Jeff also previously served on the Board of Directors for iContracts, a SaaS compliance and revenue management company, and he remains an active angel investor and advisor to a half-dozen software and analytics companies. Jeff holds a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is the co-author of a method and system patent for analyzing the effectiveness of marketing strategies.
Neal Howard: Hello, I’m your host Neal Howard here on Health Professional Radio. Glad that you could join us once again, thanks. We’ve got a guest in studio with us, we’re going to have a brief conversation with Mr. Jeff Kozloff, he’s Chief Executive Officer at TrialScope and he’s joining us on the program today to talk about how clinical trial sponsors are seeking to connect better with patients. They’ve recently launched a trial scope engaged welcome to the program Jeff. Give us a bit of background about yourself, thanks so much for taking the time and let’s talk about TrialScope.
Jeff Kozloff: Thanks Neal. This is Jeff Kozloff, I’m the CEO of TrialScope, a lifelong entrepreneur. TrialScope is the third software company that I’ve run. It’s venture backed and we’ve got a great team of about 45 people in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Neal: As a serial entrepreneur, have you always been involved in the pharmaceutical industry as far as software development and distribution is concerned?
Jeff: I spent most of my career in life sciences and specifically in the pharmaceutical industry. I’ve straddled two different parts of life sciences, one the commercial side which means more on the market research, customer insights, marketing, sales part of the organization and then I’ve spent about the last five or six years on the clinical side of business supporting various challenges related to clinical trial recruiting.
Neal: Now we’ve all heard about the clinical trials. We hear about it in all of our advertisements about drugs and devices, FDA approvals, things of that nature. Now talk about briefly the industry of clinical trials. What are some of the challenges, you know we think that oh you’ve just got this huge pool of people that are just jumping on the bandwagon to get into these trials, no problem. That’s not really the case, is it?
Jeff: No, quite the opposite. Awareness and access to clinical trials is pretty limited but if you think about your daily life and your family, anyone that you know has taking a flu vaccine or an allergy medicine or antibiotic, obviously there’s tens of thousands of brave volunteers who have gone through a trial to make all these terrific medicines available to us and so as an industry, we need to continue to do a better job promoting not only the awareness of trials but the benefits of participating and then most importantly making sure we can connect interested people to those trials and that’s been historically a relatively tough challenge because most trials are conducted at research centres, academic medical centers and often times there’s a lot of burden on the patient, they’re not being conducted by their community physician so how do you connect them to those sites.
Neal: What about phone calls? What about flyers? What about sometimes we hear on the radio that they’re conducting this trial, that trial or the other? Is it just a matter of getting to these places in addition to knowing about them at all?
Jeff: Sure. I mean that we’ve all seen the flyers on the telephone poles but obviously with the advent of the internet and digital media, it’s been able to tap into various patient networks and word-of-mouth and that’s what we’re doing here at TrialScope is that we’re working with pharmaceutical sponsors to improve patient access and awareness via their websites of the trials that they’re recruiting for and then making sure using some geolocation techniques that they can find trials near them and then to give them more of a curated or handheld experience to help them screen in and then getting connected with the sites directly. The previous way of doing it is they might have to go to a website called clinicaltrials.gov which was written more for researchers than patients so it’s not written and health literate best practices. It doesn’t have good iconography or imagery, it’s not very inviting for a patient so there’s a lot of pharmaceutical companies that are looking to improve that model and make it more accessible for patients and that’s what we’re doing. In addition to that, I think one of the really exciting areas as well, it’s not only on the front end of trials of getting people access and aware of these but once people do participate a big movement around data sharing and providing child information back to these brave heroes, historically people that would participate never really had visibility into what happened in the trial that they were on and so there’s a big movement to share which is called ‘plain language summaries’ with those trial participants and with the public in general to educate about the results of those trials. And again it’s another area the TrialScope is leading the charge on.
Neal: Are all of these issues addressed within TrialScope Engage that you’ve recently launched?
Jeff: The TrialScope Engage platform does cover those, it’s more suited in the front end again with the awareness and the access. However, some of our sponsors do post their plain language summaries on TrialScope Engage. We have another product called trialsummaries.com that’s a multi sponsor portal meaning that multiple pharmaceutical companies post their trial summaries up there as well and the nice thing again is that patients who participate in trials can come in and sign up for alerts and then once the results are available, we send those, we digitally distribute those to the patients and that’s just again a fantastic site, a fantastic service, something five years ago most patients and still even today a large majority what’s happened in the trial that they participated in.
Neal: Now you mentioned a handheld interactive experience with this platform. Does it also give feedback as far as the screening process is concerned quickly if because not all who apply even with this platform are going to qualify, is that a fair assumption?
Jeff: Correct. So there’s something all studies have what’s called inclusion and exclusion criteria and so because you might have Type-2 Diabetes or you might have asthma, there’s other criteria that the researchers are looking at and so yes, our site does have the ability to plug in a screener for these patients and then make sure before they would get connected to a site that it’s applicable to them.
Neal: How accessible is the platform to the patient? I mean is this a free app? Is it a subscription? How does it actually work on behalf of the patient?
Jeff: So we actually host these trial finder sites on behalf of the pharmaceutical companies right on their corporate websites so if you go to Bayer, there’s a clinical trial homepage or Bayer’s corporate website, if you go to GSK for example, or Novo Nordisk we have many other customers on there. You can find these hosted experiences and it’s free to the general public and again that’s the best way obviously to promote awareness. It has social sharing tools in there so maybe you might be reading about a trial for a neighbor or a loved one, you can easily share that information with them via email, you can share it via social media, you could print it take it in and have a discussion with your physician. Again there’s a lot of exciting tools on the platform to help connect patients to information that they might be looking for.
Neal: You mentioned the user friendly aspect of the platform. Is it as user friendly for the researchers and the physicians as well as the patients? Is it in plain language that everyone can relate to or is it more geared to the patient than it is to the researcher when it’s trying to connect these people for these trials?
Jeff: Yeah, that’s an interesting and exciting question and finding for us as we’ve continued to do customer research and user research. The Engage platform really is an authoritative hub of clinical trial information and so we’ve seen not only patients come to the site but like you said outside researchers and clinicians, advocacy groups again because it is easily to search information, digestible information about clinical trials if the pharmaceutical company is sharing. We see a number of visitors from across the world that are visiting these sites and visiting them on a variety of devices, mobile and tablets as well as their PCs.
Neal: Well Jeff where can we go online and get some more information about TrialScope and TrialScope Engage as well as the other products that you have there?
Jeff: Sure the best place to go to our corporate homepage which is www.trialscope.com
Neal: Jeff Kozloff thank you so much for joining us on health professional radio today.
Jeff: Neal, I really appreciate it. Have a great day, thank you.
Neal: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at hpr.fm and healthprofessionalradio.com.au you can also subscribe to this podcast on itunes listening and download at SoundCloud. Be sure to visit our Affiliate Page at hpr.fm and healthprofessionalradio.com.au