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Below is our recent interview with Priti Sahai, CEO at Plexome:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Plexome?
A: Yes, of course. At its core, Plexome connects researchers from around the globe and makes collaborating on projects easier and hassle-free. Clinical research is essentially a team sport –the healthcare community is joined on a common mission to deliver upon the promise of bringing new discoveries to the point of patient care. We achieve our greatest potential by working together and sharing knowledge, data and inventory, but that is also our biggest challenge which is why more than 80% research projects fail before they ever get tested in humans and it still takes nearly 15 years and $2.5 billion to bring one treatment to market.
Whether it is the need to brainstorm on an idea with a specific person or group, seek appropriate resources for a research project, share documents and thoughts, or work together to gather data sets that will aid in generating greater insights and providing better patient care – researchers should be able to do this without having to deal with the complex infrastructural, operational and technical aspects of working collaboratively every time one has an idea or new project or even a need as simple as wanting a secure, professional exchange with peers across boundaries. Our cloud-based platform enables a global community of sponsors, sites, researchers and scientists to connect easily, collaborate efficiently and share securely. Plexome empowers researchers so they can focus on the science and the collaborative partnerships and not have to worry about the mechanics of the process.
Q: How exactly does your solution work?
A: Our solution is founded on four cornerstones – Connection, Communication, Collaboration and Sharing. Our members can leverage any combination of these capabilities or all of them. Each cornerstone has a powerful contribution towards increasing the chance of research projects completing successfully.
The process starts with the creation of a professional profile for individuals, institutions and/or projects. Members always retain the choice of the amount of information they would like to share with others in the Plexome community and can also elect to keep the information entirely private or share only with a select group of members. An easy search capability allows the community to find resources that they are seeking for an idea or project — such as institutions offering a specific imaging service, a biobank that has an inventory of tissues that matches their project’s need, or peers with unique expertise, etc.
Communication can occur on a one-to-one level between connections or between a group of individuals working together on an idea or project within a Plexome Circle – a Circle is a virtual collaboration area that is only accessible to members invited to join. In addition to communication, Circles facilitate sharing of documents, links, and other information relevant to the group’s focus area. A Plexome member can be a part of multiple circles thereby enabling the creation of a network of networks.
Another important capability of the solution is facilitating data collection for research projects which easily scales from a single-site registry to one that spans multiple teams across the globe. Through Plexome, researchers have a centralized point for data aggregation and analysis. Data collection forms can be customized per a specific project’s needs and while manual data entry and export options are always available to our members, we can also create automated integrations with their internal databases and systems.
And of course, all of this is HIPAA-compliant, secure and easily accessible through our cloud-based platform making the entire process a hassle-free experience for our members.
Q: What type of users would benefit the most from your solution?
A: All stakeholders involved in research activities related to the healthcare and scientific domains benefit from being a part of Plexome’s community and leveraging its collaborative capabilities. Whether this is an organization that sponsors studies; pre-clinical programs; sites that conduct studies; CROs or SMOs that provide coordinating services; institutions that offer a service to the research community e.g. a biobank or lab; or individual researchers, scientists, staff members or administrators – each one is part of a larger network that needs to work together to deliver upon the promise of bringing new innovations into the hands of clinicians and patients. We are poised for amazing growth and each one of us has a part to play in this. Collectively, we are stronger and better than any one of us is individually which brings a unique advantage to all members of the community.
Q: What are the unique collaboration challenges faced by the clinical and scientific community and how does Plexome help?
A: Collaborations are challenging for the community due to a combination of reasons – these projects are complex, often have specific requirements that cannot be compromised, and require active participation by multiple stakeholders making unique contributions along the way. A missing link can make the difference between success and failure. Numerous discoveries start and finish in the lab, and even more projects never take off the ground due to an inability to find the resources needed for them. Whether it is finding peers with specific expertise; identifying funding sources for discovery waiting to happen; or finding resources such as biospecimens or patients that meet the very complex eligibility criteria that are an increasing norm for clinical research projects – the inability of researchers to get the support that would help them succeed often becomes a restricting factor that deters innovation. The resources are not available when needed — not because they don’t exist but because knowledge of their existence doesn’t exist.
Another compounding factor is that the evolving scientific landscape is changing the way that research is conducted. The complexity of protocols themselves and the way that they are conducted, has grown massively. There is the need for more specificity in selection of sites and patients, which begs the need for a larger pool to search from. An increasing number of trial procedures and endpoints, and more comprehensive data collection needs further adds complications to the management of these trials. Compliance, security, and privacy issues are under the spotlight increasing the demand for trained and experienced staff who can conduct trials effectively and efficiently. And while the use of data management systems has grown, and many innovative systems have come in the market, the number of disparate data silos – silos holding valuable information not accessible to the broader research community – is at an all-time high.
So, at the core of this challenging situation we have an ecosystem that is highly siloed and a research process that has increasingly precise requirements. Seekers are unable to find what they need through the traditional means within localized silos and are unaware of where to look beyond that. On the other hand, those who have the resources do not have an efficient and secure way of sharing this information with others. Plexome is founded on the firm belief that collaborations and knowledge sharing would occur a lot more often if it was just easier to do so. Our common platform makes the community aware of these information silos and allows the seekers to connect and communicate directly with the owners of the knowledge base they are interested in. Researchers can now easily scale their collaborative outreach and work together with others across the globe in a secure and compliant manner and without having to jump through technical hoops. Having experienced these challenges in the trenches, our team is very cognizant of the issues and how to work through them. Through our platform, our mission is to ensure that all stakeholders in the clinical and scientific community have a way to connect, share and advance their research and clinical needs.
Q: What are your plans moving forward?
A: We are very enthusiastic about the direction we are headed in as well as the overwhelming positive response we continue to receive from our members on a daily basis. Our near-term plans include continuing to build out the community and providing our members with the tools needed by them to be successful in their individual programs. We also have some exciting developments planned for our product roadmap so stay tuned!
We encourage anyone interested in learning more to visit our website. We firmly believe that everyone has something to contribute to the community as well as a wealth of benefits to be received and welcome all opportunities for a conversation.Activate Social Media: