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AdminAug 25, 20232 min read

Aetion® Publishes Screening Tool to Identify Candidate Programs for Using Real-World Evidence to Support Effectiveness Claims in FDA Applications in Peer-Reviewed Journal

NEW YORK, AUGUST 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Aetion ® , the global leader in real-world evidence (RWE) technology and analytics, is pleased to announce that ‘A S creening Tool to Evaluate whether U sing Real-world Data to Support an Effectiveness Claim in an FDA Application has R egulatory F easibility (SURF)’ was published today in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. SURF intends to help sponsors make an initial feasibility assessment for using real-world data (RWD) to provide substantial evidence of effectiveness to support a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. In recent years, FDA has made considerable progress in advancing its RWE program. From FDA’s RWE framework and associated guidance to recent approvals that rely partially or entirely on RWE, the Agency has demonstrated its openness to evidence generation approaches beyond randomized controlled trials (RCT). As mentioned in the SURF publication, sponsors may be able to most successfully use RWE when RCTs are not feasible, and the unmet medical need represents an urgent public health issue, thus increasing efficiency in clinical development and improving the chance of regulatory success . "The SURF tool is based on Aetion’s experience, and our review of FDA guidance and RWE uses in Agency approvals. We have seen sponsors struggling with decisions about whether to conduct an external control arm (ECA), and in publicly available use cases, we have seen many ECAs disregarded by FDA. We applied these learnings to create SURF, which intends to provide sponsors with straightforward and actionable guidance around the use of RWE for effectiveness claims ,” said Nicolle Gatto, Ph.D., M.P.H., Chief Science Officer at Aetion. “This actionable guidance can help sponsors distinguish early on between clinical development programs that are good candidates for RWE use from those that are not, and prioritize resources accordingly.” The SURF screening tool consists of a short series of questions about clinical development program characteristics that collectively represent circumstances in which an RWE approach for providing evidence of effectiveness in an application may be acceptable. While success ultimately depends on robust study design, data, and interpretable findings, sponsors can use SURF to determine whether an RWE approach is worth pursuing, given the considerable time and cost associated with assessing study design and data feasibility. SURF adds to the set of resources—including SPACE , SPIFD , and SPIFD2 —Aetion scientists have led and co-authored to support the successful use of RWE in regulatory applications and to meet regulatory commitments using RWE. To learn more about how Aetion can support your business leaders with using RWE in regulatory applications, please visit to request a meeting today.  About Aetion® Aetion® is a healthcare analytics company that delivers real-world evidence for the manufacturers, purchasers, and regulators of medical treatments and technologies. The Aetion Evidence Platform® analyzes data from the real world to produce transparent, rapid, and scientifically validated answers on safety, effectiveness, and value. Founded by Harvard Medical School faculty members with decades of experience in epidemiology and health outcomes research, Aetion informs healthcare's most critical decisions—what works best, for whom, and when—to guide product development, commercialization, and payment innovation. Learn more at and follow us on LinkedIn .