The 2nd GCP Inspection Readiness Conference, convened by Momentum Events, attracted a significant gathering of clinical experts in the pharmaceutical industry, focusing on the evolving integration of analytics and AI in quality assurance. The panel comprised Stefan Van den Akker, Executive Director of R&D Quality and Risk Management at Acadia Pharmaceuticals, Michael Torok, Ph.D., Vice President and Global Head of Quality Assurance Programs at Roche, and Kevin Richards, Director of Analytics and Insights at AstraZeneca. Their collective expertise provided invaluable insights into the future of quality assurance in clinical trials.

Realigning Quality Assurance Strategies in Clinical Trials

The panelists discussed a significant shift in the pharmaceutical industry towards more quality-centric approaches, drawing insights from manufacturing sectors. They highlighted how stringent quality control in manufacturing enhances product reliability and plays a crucial role in business aspects like contract negotiations and operational cost management.

Applying this to clinical trials, the panel suggested that a similar emphasis on quality could lead to more efficient trial processes, reduced risk of non-compliance, and potentially lower trial costs in the long run. They pointed out that rigorous quality measures in clinical trials could mean fewer protocol deviations, reduced need for amendments, and enhanced data integrity, leading to smoother regulatory review processes and faster market access for new drugs. This comparison underscored the need for the pharmaceutical industry to adopt more advanced, quality-focused strategies, aligning with practices seen in other sectors.

AstraZeneca’s Study Quality Oversight Tool

One of the many highlights of the conference was the introduction of AstraZeneca’s ‘Study Quality Oversight’ tool. This innovative reporting suite is designed to transform how clinical trials are monitored and managed. It facilitates the transition from reactive to proactive quality management by providing comprehensive oversight throughout the study phases. The tool enables measuring and tracking various metrics, from study inception to completion, supporting a more proactive approach to quality. This represents a significant leap in leveraging technology to enhance clinical trial quality and compliance.

Predictive Analytics and AI Integration

A significant part of the discussion delved into the expanding role of predictive analytics and AI in quality assurance. The panel underscored an expected increase in AI’s role in automating intricate tasks within clinical trials. They discussed specific examples, such as automating protocol deviation reviews, where AI could systematically identify, categorize, and predict potential deviations based on historical data patterns.

Furthermore, the panelists explored the transformative potential of AI in protocol drafting. They envisioned a future where AI tools could analyze vast historical trial data to identify common pitfalls and success factors. For instance, AI could suggest protocol amendments by referencing similar past studies, proactively mitigating risks, and improving the trial design. This approach would streamline the protocol development process and enhance the overall quality and reliability of clinical trials.

Data-Driven Decision-Making and Cultural Shift

The panelists stressed fostering a culture that values and actively utilizes data-driven decision-making. They delved into specific examples, such as using advanced data analytics tools to identify trends and patterns in clinical trial data, which could be crucial in predicting potential issues and improving trial outcomes.

They also highlighted the need for harmonizing disparate data sources. For instance, integrating data from clinical trial management systems, electronic health records, and patient-reported outcomes can provide a more holistic view of a trial’s progress and potential risks. This integration allows for more comprehensive analysis, leading to informed decision-making that proactively addresses quality issues before they escalate.

Moreover, the panelists discussed the importance of continuous learning from data insights. They illustrated this by referencing case studies where ongoing data analysis had led to real-time adjustments in trial protocols, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the trials. This approach shifts from traditional, retrospective quality control measures to a more dynamic, data-informed strategy.

Addressing Accessibility and Language Barriers

The Q&A session brought up the challenges of smaller companies in accessing advanced AI technologies. The panelists recommended forming partnerships with service providers and utilizing open-source analytics tools, such as those offered by The Inter coMPany quALity Analytics (IMPALA) Consortium, as potential solutions. Additionally, they touched on overcoming language barriers in global studies, suggesting using AI for accurate data assessment across different languages.


The conference confirms an industry’s trend towards a more data-centric approach to quality assurance within the pharmaceutical industry. The insights shared by the panel provide a clear roadmap for integrating analytics and AI in quality assurance practices across organizations of varying sizes. This approach aims to enhance efficiency, compliance, and proactive quality management in clinical trials, marking a significant evolution in the field.

Momentum continues this important conversation at their upcoming Clinical Data Analytics virtual event on February 15th. Click here for more details and use discount code CTA.

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Moe Alsumidaie Chief Editor
Moe Alsumidaie is Chief Editor of The Clinical Trial Vanguard. Moe holds decades of experience in the clinical trials industry. Moe also serves as Head of Research at CliniBiz and Chief Data Scientist at Annex Clinical Corporation.