August 7 2023, Nairobi, Kenya
BVGH is partnering with nuvoteQ.io, the Science for Africa Foundation, Global Public Health R&D, a Division of Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Fondation Merieux, and Medicines Development for Global Health Ltd (MDGH), to establish the Clinical Trials Community Africa Network (CTCAN), a network for clinical research stakeholders in Africa that seeks to enable increased, sustainable, and coordinated clinical trials on the continent. The network will build on the progress of the Clinical Trials Community (CTC) platform, which was created to increase the visibility of African clinical trialists and sites while contributing increase in clinical trial investments in Africa.
According to this paper, Africa accounts for 17% of the global population and bears 25% of the global burden of disease. Yet less than 3% of global clinical trials take place on the African continent – those that do, are unevenly distributed and concentrated in only a few countries. As a result, most medicines are developed through clinical trials conducted outside Africa without considering the implications of their use in African patients or within African health systems. It is a widely accepted principle that medical interventions should be tested on diverse populations. African populations display high genetic variability, resulting in variability in disease prevalence/commonness across different ethnic group. This is further influenced by additional social and environmental factors.
The CTCAN, supported by Global Health EDCTP3, enables an environment that brings more clinical trials to the continent, including large scale clinical trials and disease outbreak response activities. The network will foster coordination in clinical research by providing a platform for all African stakeholders including clinical researchers, regulators, industry partners, and other relevant stakeholders, to define priority diseases for clinical research. The network will also raise awareness of the existing capacity of sites and laboratories across Africa, contribute to the operationalization and harmonization of regulatory processes across the region, and strengthen less experienced sites and labs through a clinical trial preparedness framework, while encouraging inter- and cross-continental knowledge and expertise sharing.
“Clinical trials are vital for assessing the safety and efficacy of new drugs in real-world settings, especially in African populations where specific diseases are prevalent and the genetic makeup of the population is diverse. Conducting trials in these populations can lead to better healthcare outcomes for everyone. By working collaboratively, this network is expected to establish a sustainable research environment that benefits patients and the scientific community, making it easier to conduct trials and bring new treatments to market,” said Caxton Murira, Team leader for the SFA Foundation’s Clinical Research and Trials Community program. The CTCAN will leverage and strengthen features of the CTC platform, an easy-to-use electronic registry of clinical trial sites in Africa.
“As a result, the platform will become the central source of essential data for successful clinical trial start-up and execution. These data will set the basis for clinical trials sponsors to implement stringent regulatory authority (SRA)-quality clinical trials in Africa, thus enabling African sites to participate in local and international clinical trials regularly and sustainably”, said Adriaan Kruger, co-founder and CEO nuvoteQ. The CTCAN project will lay the foundation for the creation of a coordinated and sustainable umbrella network of clinical trial sites and laboratories capable of undertaking quality clinical research in Africa.
The objective is to make the network easily accessible to African and international trial sponsors. A clinical trial preparedness framework will provide the necessary tools to assess site and laboratory capabilities and any potential quality and operational gaps they may have, along with the instruments to mitigate and overcome these gaps.
Specifically, the CTCAN is designed to:
- Develop an umbrella sub-Saharan African (SSA) network consolidating relevant subnetworks of clinical trial sites and laboratories.
- Supplement the network with epidemiological data associated with the sites and laboratories, clear and operationalized regulatory information required for clinical trial start-up and conduct.
- Develop a framework to enhance capacity and increase clinical trial preparedness.
- Make all this critical information available through a single electronic platform: the Clinical Trials Community platform.
“BVGH is committed to empowering African investigators to lead clinical trials that erase data gaps and eliminate health disparities for individuals of African descent. We are excited to contribute our expertise in international partnership development, alliance management, and clinical trial training programs, as well as best practices established through our African Consortium for Cancer Clinical Trials (AC³T), to further nurture the growth of Africa’s clinical trial ecosystem,” said Jennifer Dent, President and CEO of BVGH.
About the CTCAN members:
nuvoteQ.io (Pty) Ltd is a software company launched in 2015 to provide disruptive research solutions within emerging markets, eliminating the problems inherent in paper-based data collection methods. Our artificial neural network intelligence engine runs on our cloud-based solutions and allows our team of statisticians and data managers to do predictive analytics and enable adaptive clinical trial designs. We are extremely passionate about the public health space and have partnered with several well-known philanthropic groups globally, to design and build platforms for the African continent. Join us: https://nuvoteq.io | LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/nuvoteq-io/
Science for Africa Foundation (SFA Foundation) is a pan-African, non-profit, and public charity organization that supports, strengthens, and promotes science and innovation in Africa. The SFA Foundation serves the African research ecosystem by funding excellent ideas in research and innovation; enabling interdisciplinary collaborations and building and reinforcing environments that are conducive for scientists to thrive and produce quality research that generates new, locally relevant knowledge. Join us: https://scienceforafrica.foundation/ | Twitter: @SciforAfrica | Instagram and LinkedIn: @Science for Africa Foundation
Mérieux Foundation is an independent foundation with public interest status committed to fighting in the field, the infectious diseases that affect Low-and-Middle-Income countries. It works side-by-side with local and international partners to build capacities, particularly in clinical laboratories and health research, to improve healthcare, surveillance, alert, and response to epidemics. Taking a global health approach, the foundation also aims to improve living conditions for most vulnerable populations.
Join us: www.fondation-merieux.org/en/, www.gabriel-network.org, www.lab-book.org | Twitter: @MerieuxFdn
BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) is a non-profit organization, founded in 2003, that forges and manages multinational public-private partnerships across infectious and non-communicable diseases to build clinical trial and early-stage research capacity; foster innovation ecosystems; and expand access to quality healthcare in lowand middle-income countries. Through its African Access Initiative, African Consortium for Cancer Clinical Trials (AC³T), and Global Innovation Alliance, BVGH builds and promotes clinical trial capabilities and inclusion in Africa by coordinating training programs to address skill gaps; showcasing African sites’ expertise and facilities via an online platform; and forging mutually beneficial clinical trial partnerships between African investigators and global collaborators. Join us: http://www.bvgh.org | Twitter: @BIOVentures | Instagram: @bioventuresforglobalhealth | LinkedIn: BIO Ventures for Global Health
Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson is creating a future where disease is a thing of the past. We’re the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, working tirelessly to make that future a reality for patients everywhere by fighting sickness with science, improving access with ingenuity, and healing hopelessness with heart. We focus on areas of medicine where we can make the biggest difference: Cardiovascular, Metabolism & Retina; Immunology; Infectious Diseases & Vaccines; Neuroscience; Oncology; and Pulmonary Hypertension. Learn more at www.janssen.com | Follow us at @JanssenGlobal
Medicines Development for Global Health Limited is a non-profit biopharmaceutical company founded in 2015 and registered in 2022 as charity in England and Wales (charity number 1200620). The company’s mission is to address health inequity by putting new and improved medicines into the hands of people who need them most while its core expertise is in the development of medicines to rigorous regulatory standards. It is a subsidiary of Medicines Development for Global Health (Australia), an independent biopharmaceutical company incorporated in Australia and registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. Join us: https://www.medicinesdevelopment.com/uk | LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/2026065/ | Twitter: @medicinesdev
This project (Grant Agreement No 101103299) is supported by the Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking and its members, the European Union and the EDCTP Association, with a grant to the tune of EUR 1.2M (USD $1.3M). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking nor its members. Neither of the aforementioned parties can be held responsible for them.