BioNJ, New Jersey's life sciences trade association, hosted an Inaugural Health Equity in Clinical Trials MBA Business Plan Case Competition on Saturday, December 3, at Rutgers Business School. BioNJ's Business Plan Case Competition, which is part of a broader BioNJ strategic initiative of Health Equity in Clinical Trials, was designed to promote the next generation of diverse clinical trial innovators and identify innovative approaches and successful models that can be used nationally to strengthen diversity in clinical trials and expand health equity.
BioNJ believes that health equity in clinical trials is critical to deepening the understanding of the safety and efficacy of medicines in under-represented populations, expanding access to medical innovation for these populations and increasing dialogue and trust among the biopharma industry, communities and healthcare systems. By discovering new approaches, utilizing new technologies and developing new business standards to make trials more accessible, we can work to create more agile, efficient and Patient-centered medical research.
Eight teams, competing for more than $20,000 in prize money, were tasked with developing a business plan defining a new solution, application or technology to help address this important and challenging problem. Teams identified one particular type of health disparity on which to frame their proposed solutions and connected with community-based organizations to better understand the real-world barriers that exist for their chosen populations to engage in clinical trials. The disease areas on which the respective teams focused included Alzheimer's, heart failure, multiple sclerosis, diabetes type 1 and type 2, colorectal and cervical cancers, and oncology.
"There is an urgent need to bring more diversity to clinical trials in order to better serve Patients and their communities…thereby helping to address health inequities. Only by improving diversity in clinical trials will we be able to deepen our understanding of the safety and efficacy of medicines for all populations. I am extremely proud of our teams. Each of the business plans offered a unique out-of-the-box solution – helping advance our ambition to have no Patient left behind."
Amadou Diarra, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Global Policy, Advocacy & Government Affairs for Bristol Myers Squibb; BioNJ Board Member and Chair of the BioNJ Health Equity in Clinical Trials Initiative
Live pitch presentations were made throughout the day to a Panel of Judges comprised of industry experts
- Naikia Atkinson, Director, U.S. Clinical Trials Diversity and Inclusion, Sanofi
- Schylr Greggs, Director, Technology Operations, Medidata
- Sharon Hanlon, Head, Clinical Trial Engagement & Enrollment, Bristol Myers Squibb
- Maribel Hernandez, Vice President, Clinical Operations & Special Projects, PTC Therapeutics
- Jack Rosenberg, Manager, Investments and Business Development, TrialSpark
- Del Smith, Co-Founder & CEO, Acclinate
- Lolita Smith, Program Manager, Rare Disease Diversity Coalition, Black Women's Health Imperative
- Matt Walz, CEO, TrialBee
"Although ultimately three winning teams were presented with cash prizes, each team has made a difference for Patients by offering new solutions and technologies to better serve Patients, build community trust and address gaps in health care delivery," said Paul Howard, Ph.D., BioNJ Business Case Competition Steering Committee Chair and Senior Director, Public Policy for Amicus Therapeutics. "This is just the start as we work to share these proposals more broadly."
A white paper with all of the presentations will be published in April and rolled out during BioNJ's acclaimed BioPartnering Conference – which brings together more than 500 industry professionals from around the globe. The three winning teams will present their plans during the April 18 BioPartnering Conference and all of the students are invited to attend to meet the community.
BioNJ is the life sciences trade association for New Jersey, representing close to 400 research-based life sciences organizations and stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem from the largest biopharmaceutical companies to early stage start-ups for nearly 30 years. Because Patients Can't Wait®, BioNJ is dedicated to ensuring a vibrant ecosystem where Science is Supported, Companies are Created, Drugs are Developed and Patients Have Access to Lifesaving Medicines.