Clinical Research Innovation: The dicentra Collaboration

Clinical research is a significant step during product development for the life-science and food industries. It is vital to biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical devices as they are the primary way to test new interventions, determine efficacy and safety, and obtain regulatory approvals from regulatory agencies.  dicentra, a Toronto-based Contract Research Organization, is one of the leaders in that field. It deals with the safety, quality, and compliance of products in the mentioned industries. dicentra also guides and supports suppliers and brand owners to develop high-quality clinical research studies. 

dicentra and similar CROs face the challenge of participant recruitment for clinical studies.  The recruitment process is very time-consuming and expensive, as half of all clinical trials do not meet targets. With this new collaboration with WIMTACH, they will be solving the inefficiencies of recruitment, retention, and management of their clinical trial participants, data management, and data quality control.

This new collaboration will push towards developing a platform-independent, user-friendly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled web application to collect and manage potentially interested participants’ information and identify appropriate participants from their database for specific clinical trials using a set of pre-defined criteria. The application will utilize a point system that allows for easy management of clinical trial participants to reduce recruitment costs. Users will be able to redeem their points immediately through select e-commerce websites and review them in real-time in their accounts. 

dicentra’s project lead and VP of Growth, Marketing & Sales, Peter Wojewnik, shares his thoughts on the project: “we’ve been investigating  how we can  save time and money during the recruitment process, and what are the advantages we offer over other CROs in Toronto.” Peter and his team of 3 want to employ machine learning and AI to analyze a database built of potential participants to help identify the ultimate subjects for a particular study.

“I reached out [to WIMTACH] and asked if they can figure out a way to develop something that would make our recruitment process as a CRO more efficient,” Peter shared when talking about joining WIMTACH.

The AI-enabled web application will address five challenges. It will collect potential participants’ information using the web application, host data and identify the appropriate participants for future trials. The app will engage and manage participants enrolled in the trial and identify and interact with participants that register automatically. Lastly, it will allow test subjects to collect and redeem points earned from participation in trials with the new point system. There will be a web application, administrator dashboard, and the implementation of rewards functionality in this project.

WIMTACH will be placing two students from Centennial’s Software Engineering Technology program on this project, as they will bring programming experience to the table. Students will gain experience in the entire Software Development Live Cycle (SDLC) and gain teamwork and coordination skills. This project will enhance their employability through additions to their portfolio and skills gained. Integrating the AI-enabled web solution into dicentra’s workflow will significantly support its goal of effectively recruiting and managing its clinical trial participants. Peter states, “I would like to see it as a widely used participant engagement software that really brings down the cost of recruitment and therefore makes clinical trials much more accessible.”

When asked about his experience with WIMTACH so far, Peter shared that “WIMTACH has been outstanding so far and I am so happy I found them. They have been extremely helpful and accommodating and they made the whole process very easy and exciting and I’m very eager to start working with them. I want to keep the momentum going and keep building on this and keep developing on it. Who knows how far we can take this.”

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