The four Atlantic provinces have launched a new initiative to collaborate on clinical trials for medtech and pharmaceutical research, dubbed the Atlantic Clinical Trials Network, or ACTN.

Health authorities from each province, along with industry groups BIOTECanada and Innovative Medicines Canada, have said they will “streamline” the clinical trial process and reduce barriers to patients participating in the trials. They will also offer companies looking to trial products a consolidated bureaucratic infrastructure within which to operate.

“Access to therapeutic clinical trials is part of the best practices in terms of offering quality care to our patients,” said Dr. France Desrosiers, CEO of the Vitalité Health Network, one of New Brunswick’s two health authorities.

“We have made significant strides in our ability to regionalize access to clinical trials during the pandemic, and we are excited to share our expertise and lessons learned with the other Atlantic provinces. I am confident that this collaborative approach will guarantee success for the benefit of all our communities.”

Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King said a main goal of the ACTN is to address the problem of small provincial poulations offerring a limited pool of potential trial participants by allowing trials to be run at a regional, rather than provincial level. The ACTN will allow trials to draw from the populations of all four Atlantic provinces.