Curated for the Inquisitive Mind


AstraZeneca creates digital health unit, with big-name partnerships already in place

Dive Brief:

  • AstraZeneca’s new health-tech business, Evinova, launched Monday, with several big-name partnerships already in place and a goal to “better meet the needs of healthcare professionals, regulators and patients.”
  • Evinova’s main focus will be helping to optimize clinical trials for biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical firms and CROs, or contract research organizations, in an effort to reduce the time and costs associated with developing new medicines.
  • Two CROs, Parexel and Fortrea, have agreed to offer Evinova’s digital health solutions to their customers. Evinova is also collaborating with Accenture and Amazon Web Services to “accelerate industry adoption and sustain and expand the global reach of its digital products.”

Dive Insight:

Often, the world’s largest drug companies operate as an assembly of smaller businesses or divisions. Roche, for example, has a diagnostics unit that accounts for more than a quarter of its annual sales. And over the past couple of years, fellow Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis has been establishing its own contract manufacturing organization.

In the best of times, these divisions help a company enter more markets or offset revenue declines elsewhere in its business. But they also add complexity and, in some cases, distractions. In 2020, as part of a company-wide restructuring, Sanofi said it would spin out some of its drug manufacturing into a separate entity. That entity, now called Euroapi, began trading on the Euronext Paris stock exchange in May 2022.

A year later, Johnson & Johnson spun out its consumer health unit, which sells brands like Tylenol and Band-Aids, through an initial public offering that raised nearly $4 billion.

Within AstraZeneca, Evinova will operate as a separate health-tech business and offer three main categories of services: unified trial solutions, study design and planning, and portfolio management.

In that first category, Evinova says it can collect clinical trial data on primary and secondary endpoints, including “novel digitally-enabled endpoints.” The data can come from connected medical devices and sensors located at the trial sites and patients’ homes. The solutions are also meant to support telehealth, remote patient monitoring and direct-to-patient medicine delivery.

In the second category, Evinova is using buzzy technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to design more optimal trials and quantify various characteristics, from a study’s carbon footprint to its impact on the patient experience.

Lastly, the portfolio management services are supposed to give a “complete picture” of a client’s portfolio across all the phases of drug development. They use “predictive algorithms to provide future key milestones, enabling study leaders to understand deviations from plans and supporting appropriate intervention.”

“We believe this will help propel the sector forward in digital health, as we know healthcare professionals and regulators need digital solutions that work across pharma and support patients broadly,” said Cristina Duran, Evinova’s president, in a statement.

According to AstraZeneca, estimates hold that the digital health market will have a compound annual growth rate of 13.6% between 2022 and 2032, and be valued at more than $900 billion by the end of that period.


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