NOVARTIS Philippines and De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute (DLSMHSI) have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to establish a Center of Excellence for Clinical Trials that will focus on research and development of innovative medicines and vaccines.
Under the MOA, Novartis will prioritize DLSMHSI as a site for its clinical research projects that will be conducted in the country, while the DLSMHSI will consider Novartis as a preferred research partner.
Clinical research activities will focus on innovative research, good clinical practice, institutional review board capacity building, registry development, and health technology assessment.
“Our partnership with DLSMHSI is part of our continuing commitment to strengthen the country’s clinical research capabilities and enhance Philippine health care,” said Jugo Tsumura, Novartis president and managing director.
Tsumura believes that healthcare research will play a key role in containing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and creating a more resilient healthcare system.
“We welcome our collaboration with Novartis to conduct clinical trials across communicable and noncommunicable diseases,” said Dr. Charles Yu, DLSMHSI vice chancellor for research.
Although the signing of MOA was delayed for many months because of the health crisis, “today’s formalization of our collaboration is a testament to our resilience and commitment to work together in strengthening clinical research in the country,” Yu added.
The De La Salle University Medical Center, a DLSMHSI division, is the largest tertiary hospital in Region IV-A and the first ISO 9001 certified hospital in the Philippines.
The company’s MOA with DLSMHSI marks the first time it has partnered with a hospital outside the National Capital Region to establish a Center of Excellence for Clinical Trials.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Yu underscored the importance of multi-stakeholder collaborations on healthcare research and development.
“In the looming darkness brought about by this pandemic, we must not forget that there are other diseases that can kill more people than COVID-19, and we are already seeing this,” Yu said.
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer must also be cared for, he pointed out.
“I strongly believe that research can change the way we treat and care for patients,” he noted.