Not-for-profit alliance advocates for life sciences collaboration

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags not-for-profit Pistoia Alliance Clinical trial decentralized clinical trial Pharmaceutical industry Patient centricity

The Pistoia Alliance is a global, not-for-profit alliance that advocates for greater collaboration in life sciences R&D. It has just announced its four new strategic priorities made up of global pharma and tech representatives to deliver new project ideas to drive industry change.

The appointed steering committees to lead collaboration in these areas harness AI to expedite R&D, deliver data-driven value, and sustainability-driven R&D, and accelerate the use of real-world data.

The alliance says the priorities were selected in response to the evolving needs of the life science industry amid digital transformation, climate change, and shifts in how research is conducted, and healthcare is delivered post-pandemic.

The Alliance consulted its members and revisited the challenges raised in its latest Lab of the Future​ survey. The steering committees are representative of the Pistoia Alliance’s global membership, including experts from top pharma and technology companies, and will help formulate the alliance’s strategy and project goals.

“The life sciences industry is at an inflection point in the face of technological innovation, global health challenges, and the emergence of new business models. The pandemic was a similar time of upheaval that proved the value of cross-industry collaboration, and researchers want this change to continue. In our recent survey​, 60% of life science experts pointed to a need for collaboration or building industry best practice guides,” said Hall Gregg, chief portfolio officer at the Pistoia Alliance.

“Solving common issues has always been Pistoia’s mission – the time is right to realign our portfolio amid these tectonic shifts so that we can focus on the issues that matter most to our members and industry. We now invite members to come forward to contribute to this strategy and suggest new project ideas under these four umbrellas.”

Global challenges

The Pistoia Alliance members say the pre-competitive legal framework and established history of delivering tangible solutions for common industry barriers mean it is well-positioned to tackle global challenges. The new committees will build on the work the alliance has been doing over the past 15 years and give members even more of a chance to steer the alliance’s strategy.

Within the harness AI to accelerate R&D, the alliance has found that 54% of life sciences companies already use AI in the lab and 60% plan further investment in the technology in the next two years. However, Pistoia believes there are still common barriers to AI adoption, including ethical and privacy concerns, which this group will address through initiatives such as the AI Community of Experts.

The research into delivering data-driven value has shown that although data is the foundation for emerging technologies like generative AI, the industry still struggles to manage, maintain, and share data effectively. This group will aim to overcome these common challenges through projects that leverage ontologies, data enrichment, and data integration technologies.

Sustainability-driven R&D

Sustainability-driven R&D – environmental, social, and governance (ESG) has become a priority for pharma, as the industry looks to reduce its carbon footprint and increase the diversity of its workforce. This group will look at the tangible changes the industry can make in these areas, for example, the Carbon Footprint for Decentralized Trials project​.

Finally, accelerating the use of real-world data – with the rise of wearables, internet of Things (IoT) devices, social media, and electronic health records, the alliance believes this area holds huge promise for collecting and sharing patient data and enabling them to be more involved in their care. But, it says, harnessing this data accurately and ethically is new territory for the industry and must be explored together.

“External pressures are continually changing, and technology is always progressing – so the Pistoia Alliance must evolve too. We designed these priorities to be ‘living and breathing’, so they can flex to the areas that will be most impactful for our members now and in the future,” said Becky Upton, president of the Pistoia Alliance.

“We are confident that the new priorities will fuel even more breakthroughs. We encourage companies to come forward and support collaborative innovation through our new projects so that we can bring new treatments to patients sooner – who are the most important stakeholders of all.”

The Pistoia Alliance is a not-for-profit members’ organization made up of life science companies, technology, and service providers, publishers, and academic groups working to lower barriers to innovation in life science and healthcare R&D. It was conceived in 2007 and incorporated in 2009 by representatives of AstraZeneca, GSK, Novartis, and Pfizer who met at a conference in Pistoia, Italy.

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