Applying the 10x Strategy to Clinical Trials: How Every New Treatment Can Move at Warp Speed

Author: John Potthoff, Ph.D.

Imagine how many lives would be saved if we were able to develop treatments at warp speed instead of the years it typically takes before a medicine is approved? On March 17, 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech partnered to jointly develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Within a month and a half of their announcement, four volunteers in Germany were dosed with the vaccine. By December 14, 2020, citizens in the U.S. received their first dose. The COVID-19 vaccine showed us we can develop products and take them to market faster.

So, the question becomes, “Why aren’t we developing all new therapies at warp speed?” Isn’t someone with asthma or psoriasis or a child with a rare condition deserving of a warp-speed attempt? How can we accelerate all clinical trials by 10 times?

A strategy exists called 10x, which is an approach to help us break out of the conventional business mindset of scarcity to focus on the abundance of scale. With this shift in thinking that results from the 10x approach, we can accelerate research while still staying within the confines and bounds of regulations designed to help us produce safe and effective treatments.

The traditional enrollment process has trial sites starting up at different times and patients enrolling at different times, both of which extend the startup timeline. Trial sites also have a fixed capacity for how many patients they can handle limited by beds, exam rooms, and staff members available to assist. If we need to find more patients in this same catchment area that matches the research being performed, the farther out we must search, which starts to involve travel and creates additional inconveniences for the patients. This can also extend the startup time.

The 10x enrollment process starts with the data and looks for patients who may qualify for research. This approach conducts clinical trials with healthcare alongside the patents’ physicians, so we’re no longer bound by the fixed capacity that trial sites struggle with. Conducting trials within healthcare increases convenience for both patients and physicians as well. By identifying patients first, it’s easier to control how much access to patients physicians can handle instead of opening an unlimited number of trial sites and waiting for patients to be enrolled. Currently, the only part of the clinical trial timeline that is expanding instead of getting faster is locating and enrolling patients. This is where the 10x strategy works so well — shortening the time from the first to the last patient enrolled and accelerating the trial’s timeline overall.

Although we’ve been using this strategy at research and healthcare institutions, it’s amazing that still today, 97% of patients and physicians don’t have access to clinical trials. We need to make this strategy more prominent across healthcare. Once this approach becomes the norm, research can access patients in abundance to conduct clinical trials at warp speed. This is the goal of 10x: enabling the faster development and testing of products so more patients can get the therapies they need, sooner.

Learn how Elligo’s strategy can efficiently locate and enroll patients to accelerate clinical trial timelines.