The second annual OpenClinica Global Conference took place last week in Boston. The venue at the Metro Meeting Center in Boston’s financial district attracted members of the OpenClinica community, many of whom traveled overseas to experience firsthand the collective effort that is reshaping clinical research.

The objective of OpenClinica is to harness the power of community thinking to help define a common technology that can work effectively in diverse research settings. Headlining the event was clinical R&D thought leader, Ken Getz.

“As a developer of OpenClinica for a number of years, I continue to be impressed by the growth of our community and quality of its activities,” said Tom Hickerson, an OpenClinica Developer. “It’s no surprise that Ken Getz talked about a community of innovators, because that’s really what the OpenClinica brand epitomizes for me.”

Mr. Getz kicked off the Conference by illustrating the increasing role communities are playing in helping to modernize the clinical research enterprise. As Chairman of the Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation CISCRP and a Senior Research Fellow and Assistant Research Professor at the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, Getz was able to offer a broad perspective on the way open communities can drive innovation in biopharmaceuticals. It was eye-opening to see how open collaboration is happening at all levels of biopharmaceutical development.

Subsequent breakout sessions showcased the myriad ways in which OpenClinica has been adopted and extended to support both industry sponsored and academic clinical research. A number of these sessions also focused on the functionality of OpenClinica version 3.1. While earlier beta versions of 3.1 have been demonstrated at other recent industry events, its formal unveiling at the OpenClinica Conference was before a group of people who immediately recognized how it will increase flexibility and productivity of clinical trials. Many groups chose OpenClinica because they need a flexible, standards based clinical trial software that can be customized to meet their specific needs. 3.1 makes this easier and helps to further facilitate the development of improvements in medicine.

The OpenClinica Community is the driving force behind the innovation that OpenClinica brings to clinical trials. While the OpenClinica Global Conference, is just one way the community interacts, it was a valuable learning experience for all. Bernd Tschapeller, a Developer at Austrian CRO Joanneum Research, Institute for Biomedicine and Health Sciences, perhaps put it best: “I really enjoyed the OpenClinica Global Conference 2011. For me it was a great opportunity to get in contact with other users for sharing experiences.”

We look forward to making the 2012 Global Conference even better!

– Ben Baumann