N.J./Pa. clinical research consortium aims to bring treatments to market faster

Six health systems in New Jersey and Pennsylvania announced the formation of a new nonprofit clinical research consortium, the Partners in Innovation, Education and Research, or PIER Consortium, on Monday.

The founding members include:

The goal is to allow clinical trials to move outside of academic medical centers, to provide greater access for patients and, ideally, help bring new treatments to market faster, according to the group’s announcement.

“Research and innovation are among the key drivers of excellence and quality outcomes in patient care,” said Brian Gragnolati, CEO and president of Atlantic Health. “Through the consortium, we are now able to move beyond geographic boundaries, expanding access to our own groundbreaking research while connecting our patients to exciting advancements from our PIER partners. This will have profound benefits for both researchers and patients.”

The group said about 80 percent of trials do not finish on time, and having a broader network can help with that.

“The concept for creating a world-class, collaborative, clinical research network of regional health institutions began in 2013 with the arrival of Steve Klasko, as Jefferson’s president and chief executive officer,” said David Whellan, senior associate provost for clinical research at Jefferson and chief operating officer of PIER. “Our vision is to advance patient care in the moment and improve quality of life and outcomes in the future. The goal of having a broad network of physician-researchers is to speed up the clinical trial process and deliver effective therapies to patients sooner.

“It can take decades to prove a medication or other treatment is safe and effective for a particular disease, which can be too late for many patients seeking treatment.”