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Biopharma looks to social media to assist patient recruitment in trials

Canadian company Qu Biologics hopes Twitter and Facebook will help its Crohn's study

 Qu Biologics Twitter trial

The jury may still be out as to the effectiveness of using social media to bolster clinical trials but one Canadian biopharma is undeterred.

Vancouver-based company Qu Biologics last month enrolled the first patient in a phase I/II trial of its novel site specific immunomodulator treatment for Crohn's disease QBECO SSI.

A key part of the company's efforts to boost patient recruitment into its trial is to harness social media to spread its message.

To that end Qu Biologics has a dedicated Twitter account for the trial, @QuCrohnsTrial, along with a similarly focused Facebook page, both of which share information about the trial as well as general information on Crohn's disease.

The Twitter account has been particularly active since its launch in August 2012, notching up more than 1,000 tweets, in the process avoiding the common social media pitfall that often sees new accounts start well but quickly fall into disuse.

For those keen to see how social media, and Twitter in particular, could benefit clinical trials the company's efforts will be of particular interest.

It comes in the wake of Pfizer's vow to continue to experiment with social media to assist trial recruitment, despite the failure last year of its virtual trial, and Novartis' repositioning of some of its efforts in the area from social to mobile.

Although an Australian study last year suggested Facebook adverts could have patient recruitment benefits, there seems to be more concerted industry interest in tapping into online patient communities.

At the forefront of this is PatientsLikeMe, which partnered with Sanofi in May and then last month with inVentiv Health to assist their clinical trials.

4th July 2013

From: Research

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