A: TWO TRENDS I AM SEEING include automation and disintermediation. That is not surprising, as these are two trends we have all been seeing in our everyday lives from autonomous vehicles to the business disruption created by the internet. Clinical trials lend themselves to opportunities to automate, given the emergence of platforms such as protocol templates (such as TransCelerate), data standards, eSource, and automated content generation. These areas, coupled with artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, create great opportunities to envision the “machine” that can serve clinical trials. Personally, I still like to see a steering wheel in a car, and I expect to still see the same level of human control and intervention in our clinical trials. When more of the process becomes automated, we will see quality improvements as well as disintermediation, and the question becomes: What steps, or even entire roles, will be impacted by such a future?
Craig is head of clinical innovation within worldwide R&D at Pfizer. In this role, he works across units and stakeholders to define Pfizer’s vision for the future of clinical trials and enables the initiatives and investments to create that future.