We founded MedAvante in 2002 to address a crisis in mental health clinical trials.
Pharma was facing unsustainable failure rates testing psychotropic drugs. Because outcomes in these studies are based on subjective assessments which can be influenced by biases and obscured by variability, developers of treatments for central nervous system (CNS) disorders were having increasing difficulty detecting the conclusive signal needed to prove efficacy, even with treatments already known to be effective.
As a result, pressure was mounting to move drug development investment away from mental health in spite of the large and growing unmet medical need. For us, this was personal: we’d seen individuals close to us devastated by the diseases for which new treatments were needed.
Studying this problem for nearly a year, we came to believe that there had to be a better way. We believed drug developers were not well served by conventional wisdom that said failed trials, soaring costs and untenable delays were unavoidable. And we believed those who said we wouldn’t be able to affect trial failure in a material way were overlooking the tremendous potential of combining scientific, clinical and technical skills to forge a new way of understanding the root causes of bias and variability.
The result was Central Ratings, an unconventional solution built on the novel idea of administering clinical outcome assessments remotely. Centralization effectively blinds raters to potentially prejudicial sources of bias and significantly reduces the number of raters needed for a study, improving standardization and minimizing variability.