ABL: Making the Clinical Trials Process Faster, Less Expensive, and Producing Better Results

By Kathleen Goepferd 16 Jul, 2013

When people ask me how I like working at Tableau Software, I can't say enough great things about the culture, the energy, the free sandwiches, and the hilarious co-workers*.

And when they ask me what Tableau DOES, I tell them the Advanced Bio-Logic Solutions (or "ABL") customer story.

It's relatable. It's personal. After all, we all know someone who could benefit from less expensive medicines or from experimental treatments making it to market faster.

And it highlights in a crystal-clear manner how helping people to see and understand their data can have staggering results in the real world, right now.

First: A little background.

ABL has helped biotech and pharmaceutical development companies with the clinical development process for more than a decade now.

The clinical trials process is an incredibly expensive, resource-consuming thing. A typical phase 3 trial can cost up to $100 million dollars-and most companies are running multiple clinical trials at one time. Experts estimate that 30% of the cost of the clinical trials process is due to site monitoring.

Not long ago, the FDA released draft guidance that recommended a new approach to site monitoring.

It's called a "risk-based approach" and, in a nutshell, it states that companies should use the data to identify higher-risk sites-and then focus time and attention on those locations.

Sites with a lower likelihood of error can be visited less often.

And because this approach causes less strain on the clinical research associates who visit sites and review files, following this risk-based approach is expected to help reduce costly (and potentially dangerous) error rates.

ABL saw this draft guidance and realized the opportunity it represents to change pharma.

But this new approach requires that companies be able to access data stored in multiple systems, in multiple formats. And the results need to be accessible and understandable to people who aren't data wonks. Finally, insight needs to be made available FAST.

...Is this starting to sound familiar? Disparate data sources and business users with a need for intuitively-understood analytics that can be in their hands quickly. Yup. It's the Tableau sweet spot.

And luckily for us, ABL recognized that fact. They chose Tableau as their solution of choice for helping customers implement a risk-based approach to site monitoring.

ABL sample viz showing protocol deviation

The potential for change is staggering. And when the result means that companies are getting potentially life-saving therapies to market faster, better, and less expensively... well, is it any wonder this is a story I never get tired of telling?

For more information about how ABL is using Tableau, read the full case study.

*PS: When I tell them about my co-workers, you better BELIEVE I have some stories about working with this guy...