June 14, 2024

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DatosX Digital Health Labs’ Robin Roberts

10 min read

Lecia Bushak speaks with Robin Roberts, CEO of DatosX Digital Health Labs, a newly launched Novartis spin-off designed to execute validation trials for digital health technology, about partnering with health systems to run studies and using AI to generate draft versions of research protocols.

Note: The MM+M Podcast uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting the podcast.

From HLTH 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s the MM+M Podcast.

Hi. I’m Lecia Bushak senior reporter at mmm and I’m here at the health 2023 conference in Las Vegas. I’m joined on the podcast today by Robin Roberts CEO of dados X digital Health lab and we’re here to talk about the launch of dados X digital Health lab and how it helps efficiently generate data for life science companies Health Systems and digital Health companies. Thanks so much for joining us Robin.

Thanks for having me. Alicia really appreciate the opportunity and happy to talk about Dr. Sex.

So to start tell me about your health experience so far and what it’s been like for you being here this year.

It’s been fantastic. I’ve this is actually my third Health conference and have to say it’s grown every year that I’ve attended so far and and has only gotten better. So we’re excited to be here. We’re excited to Launch.

Doctor sex during health and and we’re really excited to take the opportunity to engage with all the wonderful folks that are here.

Yeah, I mean today’s a big day for you. It’s the the day of the new company launched. So can you talk a little bit about that?

Sure, so it’s very interesting because the history of the company actually started as a organization inside of Novartis where we were solving a very critical problem for our business the business we understood that it was important for us to test the digital Health Technologies that we wanted to utilize in the way that we want to utilize them for the use Case in essence that we want to utilize them and but there was always a real issue around doing that and mainly it was around the fact that it was very costly and very time consuming in order to do it. The only way to really fix that problem was to create a completely different solution that would allow us to do it. Now. What we did in the meantime was really to just guess as to whether a particular solution would work in a particular use case.

How well it would work or whether we should pivot away from it. And because it just wouldn’t work at all.


realizing that we were very inefficient at doing that since we’re an industry of scientists for the most part and data is really the at the the heart of what we do we understood that we needed to figure out a new way and that new way was the development of an organization that created partnership with Healthcare systems that allowed for us to partner with them in order to execute these that validation trials these trials that allowed us to collect this important data so that we know what was working and what wasn’t now the initial development of that seemed pretty simple. However, it actually got quite complicated thereafter. We needed to figure out a

Value proposition that made sense for all parties involved in order for all parties to really want to participate and we we created that within the biome which is the organization that I helped to co-found in inside of Novartis. And we refined that as as part of the biome under what was called the evidence Lab at the time now once we once we created the solution and we started working with organizations, it was pretty clear that this was a problem that wasn’t just specific to Novartis. It was a problem that was industry-wide and it was clear to us that the only way to really

Bring the solution to the broader industry was to have this as a completely Standalone company of its own and that really was the initial birth of datosex

great and you know, as you mentioned, you know, efficiently generating data has historically been a challenge for the entire industry and this ends up impacting Healthcare Providers and patients at their level as well because they have to deal with sort of the consequences of this technology. That’s not been designed to fit their specific needs. Can you talk a little bit more about that problem and how datto sex is is planning to sort of address the impact on providers and patients.

Sure look the problem.

has been there forever and

it’s been there for so long that those of us in the industry just bake it into the cake. We just assume it’s a part of doing business. You’re you’re not going to be able to collect use case specific data for a particular digital Health technology and understand how well it works. You’re just gonna have to use your gut and maybe get some feedback from some, you know, patients or some health care providers Etc. That might give you an inkling as to how well it would work or how well it doesn’t work. And the reason why that’s been the case is because the only real option to do that or to do any type of testing of a digital Health technology is to attach it to an already existing clinical trial one that is either just started or likely about to start

As someone that used to run clinical trials in my in a previous life I can tell you that doing that is is almost impossible. And the reason for that is because as a clinical trial team, the last thing you’re interested in is presenting something new that isn’t necessarily focused on driving your primary objectives. So the conversation with a clinical trial team is is one that is usually a non-starter. It’s you know, I would like you to to add this digital Health technology whether it’s an application whether it’s a wearable whether it’s a algorithm whatever it might be to this to this protocol at the cost of millions, by the way, and and I would like you to add it as a tertiary objective that has nothing to do with your primary objectives, and that that usually just doesn’t lead anywhere in the rare cases that it does we’re talking as I mentioned millions of dollars spent in amend being a protocol likely a global protocol and we’re talking

About being at the at the mercy of the protocol timelines, which for clinical trials tends to be if not months usually years. So, you know in the in the way that technology evolves years even months is is usually something that’s not viable, right? So in figuring out the new way of doing this we had to figure out a way that it was good, but going to be both time and cost efficient and so by working with Healthcare Systems partnering with them in a way being very clear with them that this is not a cro relationship. It’s a partnership and I can describe more about exactly what that means, but it’s a true partnership.

That we would then be able to really utilize their their capabilities and their access to patients in healthcare providers in order to collect that really important data in a way that is both time efficient and cost efficient.

And one of the big things that we’re hearing at Health this year and we’ve heard it a lot of conferences as Ai and there’s been a lot of Buzz around AI how is dados X digital Health Labs using custom AI algorithms and your in-house experts to unlock this data that your partners are using for investment decisions.

Yeah, great question. So really interesting. There are a number of things that are quite new and specific to the company now that it is no longer a part of a broader organization. One of those things is our ability leveraging our ability to develop protocols that that incorporate not just the expertise of those that are inside of the doctor sex organization, but also the expertise that’s available out in on the internet out available within what we call the ecosystem and the only way to really do that is to incorporate an AI technology AI capability

Would allow us to generate a draft version of that protocol utilizing all of that knowledge base that’s out there and then have our internal experts review refine and assess that protocol in order to ensure that it is fit for purpose for what we need to utilize it for and that is exactly what we do within doctors X. We’re necessary. Of course, there are times where where protocol is already in place, but very often protocol needs to be generated in this kind of capability gives us the ability to to be very operationally sound and also incorporate knowledge that we could not have Incorporated on our own.

And you know coming back to the health conference. What are three main things that you say you’re doing here at the conference for dados Access sort of I don’t know talk more about the launch or three main things that you would want to pinpoint that you’ve been doing here and that you’re planning on doing at the conference.

Absolutely. So it’s it’s likely networking networking networking. But I what we really need to do for Dr. Sex to be successful is to get the word out that this problem now has a solution I have yet to run into anyone who of which I describe the problem that we solve who doesn’t agree that that is a problem it is as I said earlier, it’s it’s such a ubiquitous problem that it’s just generally baked into the cake. No one really even looks for a solution for the problem because the assumption is there is no solution that doesn’t involve a lot of time and/or a lot of money. So our primary purpose here at health is one to get the word out.

That that this problem now has a solution two. It’s to have individual conversations with organizations with companies whether they be startups or whether they be larger companies like the Googles the Microsoft or the world to say that where we’re open and ready to do business and that this is not a a solution that we are testing and hoping has a market fit but rather one that’s been created refined and refined once again to ensure that it is not only works but that it is something that really provides value to the end user and given the fact that the team that we’ve brought in.

And that works within Dr. Sex has the experience in running these trials. We know that we can execute on these trials in a way that is of value for all parties involved.

Great, and then you know when you when you go home and and head back to your office or head back to working from home. What are the things you’re going to do immediately when you get back from this conference and sort of the what you’re hoping to kind of take away from this and Implement.

Yeah, absolutely. So we’ll be doing a lot of following up. We’ll be we’ve had many conversations with companies that are surprised that we’ve even solved the problem itself. So we’ll be doing a lot of following up but those organizations that are looking to collect data in order to spur on a partnership in order to spur on a collaboration in order to to do do diligence around the company or maybe even in order to submit data to the FDA. We’ll be calling back all of those companies that we’ve had conversations with now we’ll be Fielding a number of requests that that have already started coming in since we’ve officially launched the company my expectation is that that number will continue to rise but even as of now as

I was mentioning earlier. We have a very robust pipeline prior to launch and now post-launch that pipeline even as of today is already growing.

Great. And before we let you go beyond the health conference, you know, this is one thing we’ve been asking everyone that we’ve been interviewing on our podcast. What is your favorite part of being in Las Vegas?

Favorite part of being in Las Vegas. It’s definitely not the heat. I would say this fear. That was I had the great opportunity to watch YouTube in concert yesterday or the day before yesterday at the sphere and that was nothing short of a life-changing experience. So it was unexpected just had some friends that that said hey, we should definitely check this out and I thought sure why not and left completely odd. So that was definitely my favorite part so far.

Well sounds like an incredible experience.

Yeah absolutely was

great. Well, thank you so much Robin for joining us.

Thanks for having me.


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