Micah Lieberman of ClinEco Speaks on the Organization’s Clinical Trials Ecosystem

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In an interview with ACT editor, Andy Studna, Lieberman, Executive Director, Conferences (CHI) & Co-Founder, VP, Community and Business Development (ClinEco) discusses what ClinEco is and how the need to create it came about.

Applied Clinical Trials: Could you tell our audience about ClinEco?

Micah Lieberman: ClinEco is our new business. When I say, “our,” I mean SCOPE, CHI; this is our launch. ClinEco is a global clinical trials ecosystem and marketplace. It's a B2B marketplace for the clinical trials and clinical research industry. It's a platform and a community that we are building and it is launched at clineco.io. And if you go there, and folks from clinops, from functional heads from pharma, CROs, and all the vendors in this space that make up this ecosystem go to clineco.io. It's fairly clear what it is on that homepage, that we're trying to help the clinical trials industry find their next clinical trial partner. We're trying to allow people to connect and evaluate vendors because basically, one of the problems we're trying to solve is that the vendor selection process is very slow, and very clunky the way it works. So we're trying to make it easier through a digital platform that enables 365 days a year-connectivity, allowing these companies and individuals in those companies to check each other out, to evaluate each other, and to make connections. We're not promising to solve the problem, we're trying to move the needle, so that it's not a six-month process to find that eCOA vendor, to do a landscape assessment to decide which patient recruitment vendors do we have? Are we considering more? Who are they? Where are they? We're trying to enable that through a digital platform and speed things up. The way it's happening now is still Google, LinkedIn, my conference (SCOPE), and things like that. And some of that stuff is too slow. So this is a way to enable this community to find each other, to be found, and we're trying to unite sponsors, CROs, service providers, and site networks on a single platform so they can explore, engage, and exchange capabilities. Yes, that's what it is. And we're hoping that it just keeps growing. We're at 600 companies today.

ACT: Why did you feel the need to create a platform like this?

Lieberman: You know, I've been in the space for 20 years, and I've been at the center of a really interesting group and I've been very fortunate to be at the hub of a wheel, right? Because of my long running conference SCOPE; Summit for Clinical Ops Execs has been running in Florida for almost 20 years and in Europe for seven years. I'm at the center of a very interesting group of people. These are the people in industry; big CROs, small CROs, big pharma, and small biotech. They are running, they're designing, managing, and driving forward global trials, right? So this is an interesting group, and I'm in touch with them all day long, every day, all year round.

Two things happened. One is they've been asking for it. They say, “Hey, we see you twice a year at your conference. Good job.” But also what happens is sometimes: Let’s say I'm Micah from pharma. I'm not in the market for an eCOA provider, or at the time, a data analytics company, or an AI company that actually knows how to navigate clinical trials. At that time, I didn't need it; the vendor wanted to see me because I'm from pharma. I'm a buyer. I leave SCOPE and I don't remember who I met with. There is kind of sometimes two ships passing in the night. So we have been asked by both sides: all the folks in our exhibit hall, and all of the folks who are coming from the sponsor organizations on faculty; they've both been asking us and we do it. We've been doing it for a couple decades. “Hey, what was that company I met? Who was that person I met?” and we just connect people which is really good. And I'm very good at connecting people. It became more of a burning platform when it became less of an informal and more of a formal drive. Number one, the rise of decentralized trials. We've been discussing that at SCOPE for a long time; remote trials, virtual trials, it really ramped up. And there were a lot of new vendors; technology vendors and others in that space, and things were moving quickly and people were really trying to connect. Number two, COVID happened, obviously, and all of a sudden, this became a really important need. And Marina (Filshtinsky, MD, Co- Founder, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Product Development, ClinEco) and I and others within the team, we're trying to do our best to maintain our community, to keep people connected to continue to support our community and do our small part in clinical trials. You know, we don't develop drugs. We train people. We help people with information and guidance and we create the venue. So those two things and really the rise of all these new technology companies, the rise of things moving fast, a lot of innovation, a lot of new investment, plus COVID. It just became evident we had to do this now. So we did, we built ClinEco, and it's really starting to work. People understand the value and they understand the need. So that was the origin story. You know, it needs to be done. If it needs to be done, why not us? So I give Marina a lot of credit, and we did it. CHI is the parent company, but it's ClinEco. It's a spin out and it's its own thing.

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