In the latest sign that the Palm platform will no longer be the sole major entrant in the clinical trial arena, invivodata is expected to preview a Windows-based tablet computer. The occasion: the company’s 2008 user meeting, to be held April 29-May 1 in Boca Raton, Florida.

Palm is a sponsor of the event, as it turns out; invivodata is hardly abandoning the limping smartphone firm. “We don’t see moving away from Palm in the near term,” says Tom Henson, VP of marketing at invivodata, who notes Palm offers no device with a screen as large as what the company’s customers need.

Substantive Sessions

invivodata is excited about a user group meeting designed to be more than a self-referential talkfest, with two-thirds of the presentations coming from sponsors, former regulators or others outside the diary company. “The educational approach is the right approach,” says Henson. “It’s not come down to Florida to hear a commercial. We’re trying to move away from that.”

Henson says contract research organizations will be attending the meeting, and that such firms are coming to grasp the nuances of electronic patient reported outcomes (ePRO). “There are some definite best practices around collaborative project management,” says Henson. “They’re trying to climb the learning curve around ePRO.”

In Depth Discussion

The company is hoping for a substantive discussion about how and when to use ePRO. “The real interest is on that science side and regulatory side,” says Henson. In addition to people from Astra-Zeneca, Dainippon Sumitomo, and Cypress Bioscience, other speakers on the agenda include John H. Powers, a former FDA official now on the medical faculty at George Washington University, who will discuss “Evolving FDA Expectations for PRO.” Chris Connor, the IDC analyst, is another highlight.

The full list of speakers is here. We couldn’t help but notice that a key etrials executive, Rick Piazza, has now moved to Medidata; Piazza will be speaking at the Florida event as director of new products at the EDC firm.

The company is growing fast, Henson says, both for individual projects requiring devices and for pre-trial consulting services around ePRO. “We’re seeing steady growth on the study business. We’re seeing well beyond steady growth on the PRO consulting side. We’re seeing tremendous interest in that initial expertise and consulting on incorporating PROs in the right part of their program.”