The 2022 AHPPI conference unfolded as a dynamic explorationof the ever-evolving landscape of early phase clinical drug development. Encompassing a diverse array of topics, the conference delved into the intricate intersections of innovation, change, and the profound impacts of external factors on the pharmaceutical arena.
Throughout the day, the profound ramifications of both Brexit and the persistent spectre of the COVID-19 pandemic reverberated as recurring themes, casting their shadows over the discussions about the future of the UK pharmaceutical markets and clinical practices. Attendees engaged in comprehensive analyses of the productivity metrics of top pharmaceutical companies, dissecting the implications of these trends. However, the spotlight was firmly directed toward a human-centric perspective, particularly exploring avenues through which patient experiences could be elevated.
Innovations such as remote sampling and decentralised clinical trials emerged as key focal points, underscoring the conference's commitment to enhancing the patient journey in the realm of clinical drug development. As stakeholders converged in lively discussions, the spotlight turned to current challenges within the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Proposed solutions included the formation of a stakeholder group poised to articulate a unified argument to the UK government, marking a collaborative effort to shape the regulatory landscape.
Dr. Ulrike Lorch proposed updates to the Principal Investigator (PI) accreditation and certification scheme for early phase trials in the UK. The first step involves aligning accreditation with the diverse scope of early phase trials, emphasizing innovative study designs, therapies, and patient populations. The second step aims to enhance accessibility by collaborating with experts and utilising existing assessment systems. The final step suggests formal certification of PIs' capabilities, offering two pathways: a formal General Medical Council credential and a flexible system for annual certification based on individual scope of work. The goal is to adapt to evolving trial landscapes and ensure confidence from stakeholders.
Debates on the ethical considerations of Phase I trials unfolded, probing the question of whether these trials should be approached uniformly for oncology patients and healthy subjects alike. The keynote speaker, drawing on a wealth of experience, provided a retrospective lens on 40 years in early drug development, weaving a narrative that contextualized future directions for change.
Beyond these discussions, the conference delved into the complexities surrounding gene therapies, pondered the evolving role of the Qualified Person (QP) post-Brexit, and explored proposals for the future of PI(Principal Investigator) certification-related training in the UK. Notably, insights into the unique challenges posed by COVID-19 challenge trials were shared, shedding light on the lessons gleaned from navigating uncharted territories of ethical committees.
In a poignant conclusion to the meeting, AHPPI Chairman, Dr.Hardman, encapsulated the UK's position post-implementation of the Clinical Trials Regulation and the Clinical Trials Information System. He underscored the unique opportunities for innovation that lay ahead, signalling a collective optimism for the future of early phase clinical drug development in the UK. The conference stood as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the pharmaceutical industry, charting a course toward a future marked by both challenges and transformative possibilities. The managing committee of the Association for Human Pharmacology in the Pharmaceutical Industry thanked Dr.Jörg Täubel for chairing the morning and afternoon sessions of the meeting.