Reimagining the clinical study design process in life sciences

Merlin is a truly innovative, truly collaborative and truly transformative flagship first in science project both for AstraZeneca and the industry as a whole. It redefines how clinical trial studies are designed, putting the patient at the centre. In turning an exceptional idea into a concrete vision and reality AstraZeneca enlisted the help of Deloitte.

Merlin uses AI and other predictive technologies to optimise, automate and add intelligence into the design, planning and costing process for clinical trials, freeing up scientists to "create" rather than "administrate". By unleashing the power of its data, AstraZeneca can now know the real impact of its choices, reducing the burden of unnecessary trial procedures, increasing participant recruitment and reducing participant drop out during the trial, and ultimately bringing life-saving drugs and therapies to market sooner. In developing Merlin, Deloitte and AstraZeneca have created a trusted kite mark for clinical trials from which data-driven insights can enable informed and efficient decision making across multiple stakeholders.

Focusing initially on Oncology and Immuno-Oncology, before expanding out across the range of therapeutic areas, Deloitte has worked with AstraZeneca to deliver the multiple releases of Merlin, generating outcomes that really make a difference to the company and to society. High-level data-driven study cost estimates can now be completed in under five minutes, rather than several weeks, with far greater accuracy and the patient is now at the heart of trial design.


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