They built a smarter approach to COVID clinical trials. Now they want to do the same for other diseases

Author: Matthew Herper, STAT

A group of scientists who did more than perhaps any other to test new treatments for Covid, including establishing that the steroid dexamethasone can save lives, is now turning its focus to the rest of medicine.

The first step, announced today: a partnership with the Paris-based drug giant, Sanofi.

Sanofi will give the U.K. non-profit Protas $6.8 million to begin its work to accelerate how clinical trials are done and make them far cheaper. It aims to build on what the researchers learned studying treatments against Covid-19 to test medicines for heart disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, and other common ailments.

“One’s got to really think about how one can get better evidence at lower cost in order to get a better impact on public health,” said Sir Martin Landray, the CEO of Protas and a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Oxford University. “And that’s the motive.”

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