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AZ taps electronic patient records for real-world evidence collaboration

Hopes to highlight unmet needs in chronic diseases through European deal with IMS Health

AstraZeneca is to use anonymised real-world data from European electronic patient records to gain a better picture of how its medicines perform once they reach the market.

The pharma company has signed a three-year deal with IMS Health for access to existing anonymised electronic health records - which include clinical outcome, economic and treatment pattern data.

The records will provide "real-world evidence based on observational and retrospective studies throughout Europe," according to AstraZeneca

The company said the information would be used to "inform the delivery of effective and cost-efficient healthcare".

In addition to broadening its understanding of its current product portfolio, AstraZeneca also hopes to use the information to inform its future discovery and clinical development programmes.

Greater understanding of how existing drugs perform in real-world settings could also help it to position new drugs favourably in reimbursement and health technology assessment (HTA) discussions.

AstraZeneca and IMS plan to develop a customised research and analysis tool to interrogate the data, which will be used to identify gaps in existing treatment that could be addressed by new medicines.

The main focus of the collaboration will be on chronic diseases, spanning several therapeutic categories.

AstraZeneca's president of R&D, Martin Mackay, described the alliance as "a key milestone in our commitment to understand the impact of our medicines in the real world, beyond what we see in controlled trials."

The deal recognises that tightly-controlled protocols in clinical trials cannot take into account variations in doctors' prescribing habits and the way the public actually take medicines.

AstraZeneca said the information gained would paint a picture of unmet needs in the current standard of care and treatment patterns across a number of therapeutic areas, with an emphasis on chronic illnesses.

Pharma companies have understood for some time that there is a benefit from the inclusion of observational, non-international studies in drug development programmes - even if the concept is not universally applied in practice.

The company's latest collaboration with IMS Health complements this emerging trend.

Jon Resnick, IMS Health's vice president of real-world evidence solutions, said: "This joint initiative reflects a shared perspective on the transformative power of real-world evidence on global health systems."

The IMS Health agreement builds on AstraZeneca's existing 'real-world' data and research partnership with WellPoint's health outcomes research subsidiary HealthCore in the US.

The February, 2011 deal also had a chronic disease focus and saw AstraZeneca and HealthCore partner on real-world studies to determine the most effective and economical treatments.

Under a four-year deal the firms are conducting studies analysing electronic medical records, claims information and patient surveys.

11th January 2012

From: Marketing

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