Event company acquires AstraZeneca's medical meetings app

Organizations such as the American Heart Association and the San Antonio Breast Cancer Society are already using the standalone version of Conference Notes, which was developed in early 2015.

Event technology platform Core-apps acquired a mobile app developed by AstraZeneca's Digital Innovation Group, a partnership between the drugmaker and DigitasLBi,  that seeks to promote engagement among attendees at medical conferences.

The deal closed July 7. The Conference Notes iPad app and technology gives participants access to speakers' presentations and allows users to take notes and collaborate with each other.

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Organizations such as the American Heart Association and the San Antonio Breast Cancer Society are already using the standalone version of Conference Notes, which was developed in early 2015.

Core-apps develops and manages events apps across different industries, working with about 3 million users. As part of the acquisition, Conference Notes will be available to customers attending events outside of the healthcare industry and expanded for use on Android and iPhone devices. Core-apps' existing apps are available in 17 languages and allow users to access calendars and exhibitor information, build schedules, find sessions and floor plans, do live polling, and engage through social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

“I think the combination of the two products — our mobile app and Conference Notes — really gives the user a lot of powerful information that they can take away with them and utilize 365 days a year,” said Core-apps CEO Jay Tokosch. “As opposed to it being one of multiple apps that people have to download, now this will be all part of one platform. Everybody will find a feature in here that they will like.”

The AstraZeneca branding will remain on the Conference Notes platform, but Tokosch said that the information will not be shared. “For meeting planners outside of AstraZeneca, competitors, anything of that nature, it's total autonomy,” said Tokosch.

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Drugmakers spend millions of dollars a year attending medical meetings where doctors and other clinicians present the results of studies, including trials initiated by the companies about their drugs. Many pharma companies also back continuing medical education, which is governed by strict standards of commercial support, and non-CME courses at these meetings, in addition to exhibiting and networking with journalists and researchers attending the meeting.

Tokosch said that Conference Notes was built for the medical industry, catering to sub-sessions and multiple presenters, but he sees it resonating across all industries.

“Even though there's some real complexity in life sciences meetings, the other meetings will want the same types of engagement as well,” said Tokosch. “If you can do the complicated medical shows and handle their content, you can do [shows for] anybody.”

The San Antonio Breast Cancer Society will be the first to test a pilot program of the combined products in December, noted Tokosch.