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Despite Covid-19 and the pandemic’s restrictions, Veeva made use of video conferencing technology to hold its annual European research and development (R&D) summit online this year.

The pandemic has made it clearer that the life science industry needs to focus on overcoming the challenges of resilience, noted Veeva Europe president Chris Moore in his opening keynote. Moore added: “Covid-19 has really tested companies, but what is very notable to me is those organisations who invested early in their technology and their infrastructure, especially in the cloud, seem to have thrived.”

Other challenges facing the industry, which double up as opportunities from Moore’s perspective, include innovation, collaboration, balancing value and cost and compliance.

Veeva’s long-term approach to helping its life science customers tackle these challenges has been through its development cloud for R&D to unify and connect internal processes better. Whereas “this year, we’re talking more and more about externalising it” to better tie the other stakeholders involved, including clinical research organisations (CROs), sites and patients, into its new Clinical Network.

Veeva Europe vice-president of R&D strategy Rik Van Mol noted in his keynote that Clinical Network is the industry’s first end-to-end solution for sites, patients and sponsors, which “aligns naturally to the way the industry works”. Moore added that pharma companies “don’t innovate only within their four walls”.

Involving patients in the process with MyVeeva

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The new patient-focused application launched at the summit is called MyVeeva. Van Mol describes it as a “patient portal that enables remote clinical trial visits, and provides a modern patient-centric experience”. This doesn’t only lead to better interactions with patients; it will “capture all information in one place, so you’re not having to pass it between different systems on paper,” Moore explained.

Veeva CEO Peter Gassner described MyVeeva as the “paper eliminator”, as well as emphasising its role to increase patient participation in clinical trials.

MyVeeva gives patients access to everything they need for a clinical trial at their fingertips, reducing the burden of participation. This is particularly important during the pandemic, when the majority of trials have been disrupted because patients cannot visit sites, but it will also be crucial beyond Covid-19, noted Van Mol.

Although work on MyVeeva was underway before Covid-19 emerged as a public health threat, Moore said the pandemic has “accelerated our work [in this area] and prioritised it”. He added that the pandemic will accelerate the pace of movement towards virtualised clinical trials, because even though it is unclear exactly what will be normal in life sciences after this, “one thing is for sure – it won’t go back to the way it was.”

Although MyVeeva still won’t allow a full virtual clinical trial to occur, according to the company’s clinical operations vice-president of product management Steve Harper, that is ultimately the company’s long-term vision.

MyVeeva will available for early adopters by the end of this year. It will be free for clinical research sites and integrate seamlessly into Veeva SiteVaultFree, another product launched by Veeva at the European virtual summit.

Veeva SiteVaultFree is the company’s first solution specifically for research sites and is a free eRegulatory solution, which “reduces the workload of investigators and coordinators so they can focus on important research and get life-changing treatments to patients faster”, according to vice-president of site strategy Bree Burks.