Adam Halbridge, Principal Informatics Expert at PRA, is not a cubicle guy. He’s an entrepreneur and creator who’s taken his passion for growing and building businesses and turned it into a career.
When Adam hears people’s excitement about bettering their lives with technology, he gets excited, too. That’s when he starts tinkering and tossing ideas until they stick, clearing an efficient path for everyone to live healthier, fuller lives.
Below, read more about Adam and the insights he shares about our industry.
What’s the biggest challenge you face today in our industry?
My biggest challenge is educating our internal PRA teams in data and innovation—how we position it and how we operationalize it. Secondly, I believe educating our clients should be prioritized over chasing request-for-proposals (RFPs).
Why did you become involved in clinical research?
My interest in healthcare started as a child. I remember racing through labor and delivery with my father the ObGyn in what was then Houston’s budding Medical Center. His partners introduced me to a Baylor program for 4th graders in animal dissection. Next was a NASA astrobiology and research camp and suffice to say, the research die was cast.
As a founding member of PRA’s Mobile Health Platform (MHP), I was fortunate enough to get exposure to mHealth and the new direction of healthcare. Before our MHP even became what it is today, I was searching for fields that could benefit from this new technology. That’s how I came across healthcare as a “blue ocean” of opportunity. It was a few years behind on the technological curve. There were so many areas of medicine untapped by virtual systems. The healthcare industry was years away from that mindset shift. I wanted to be part of that fight. Our fledgling company began working with Qualcomm’s mHealth’s parents, Don Jones, and Scripps Research Institute’s celebrity cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol, and from there, we were fully devoted to the clinical research space.
In your experience, what has been the most important factor that has changed drug development?
Democratization of data. For the first time in history, global efforts are shaping the research landscape, which makes it easier to get drugs to patients.
What is the biggest misconception people have about clinical trials?
From the principal investigator perspective, it’s paperwork. From the patient’s lens, it’s that clinical trials are all about experimental drugs or a last line of hope for therapy. There are many healthy volunteer studies that provide solutions as well.
What advice would you give to the next generation of researchers?
Go deep in a handful of indications and forecast the research landscape for the client. Don’t just be their “arms and legs.” Lead the client to the endpoint they should be addressing. Lead them to the indication(s) where they can help patients.
How has clinical research affected your life personally?
Unfortunately, two of my close family members were diagnosed with cancer in the past two years; Multiple Myeloma and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. The silver lining here was that I had the awesome and limitless power of PRA’s data assets. M y amazing MI/Digital Health team helped me navigate each relatives’ patient journey and discover the best regimen of treatment available to them in both commercial and in research and development. It is a privilege to know that the therapy prescribed to a patient is actually the best therapy available for that specific patient. All patients, providers and caregivers should benefit from these resources. Democratize the data!
If you had to describe yourself in three words, which would you choose?
Grateful, entrepreneur, and hungry.
If you think back, at what point could you have chosen a different career path and what would it have been?
My mother, father, and stepfather are all physicians. They encouraged me to go into business, not medicine. They were typical docs, grumbling about insurance companies and how they took over medicine. During my whole childhood, I traced over large beautiful illustrations of a Gray’s Anatomy coffee-table sized book. I also attended multiple summer programs at Baylor and UT for dissection, biology, and even a program at NASA around biology in space.
What’s a fun fact about your childhood?
I received my first patent when I was 12. It was a protective coating that goes on the end of your glasses that’s also flavored. You know how people will chew on the ends of their glasses as a bad habit while waiting or talking? Well, I was protecting the glasses while supporting the bad habit!
If you were to write a self-help book, what would the topic be?
Never, ever give up.
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