Syneos Health announced a partnership with Haystack Health Tuesday to bolster its clinical trial enrollment through artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing.

As part of the collaboration, the companies will focus on developing research tools and improved workflows for patient enrollment, available at Syneos Health sites in the U.S. for oncology and immunology. Additionally, the partnership will ultimately expand to global clinical trial sites and other therapeutic areas.

“The challenges of enrolling patients in clinical trials are well documented,” Baba Shetty, president of technology and data solutions at Syneos Health, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be working closely alongside the Haystack Health team to innovate in this critical area for patients, sponsors and science.”

For his part, Haystack Health CEO Steve Whitehurst noted in a statement that the partnership will also work to reduce screen failure — an industry term for instances when researchers screen potential clinical trial participants who ultimately don’t end up enrolling.

“Screen failure is extremely costly across the clinical research chain, in terms of both time and money,” Whitehurst said. “For overburdened and busy research sites, additional time spent on screening patients who never actually enroll into a trial could have been much more effectively spent on patient care.”

He added: “Clearly, better pre-screening methodologies are urgently needed to reduce screen failure rates, enabling faster clinical development and improved patient care.”

Haystack Health’s natural language processing aims to boost efficiency of patient matches and lower the chance of moving ineligible patients to final screenings. The goal is to improve overall clinical trial lifecycles, pinpoint eligible patients in real-time and quicken enrollment — in particular for trials deemed difficult-to-enroll, and trials in cancers and complex autoimmune diseases.

The Haystack partnership news comes after Synoes Health announced in January that its chief financial officer Jason Meggs would be leaving the company. The company stressed at the time that Meggs’ departure wasn’t “a result of any disagreement regarding the company’s financial statements or disclosures.” Last fall, Synoes Health global president Tim Pantello also left the company for Relevate Health.

A 2022 MM+M Agency honoree, Syneos’ revenue grew by 2% in 2021, from $260 million to $266 million, according to MM+M’s Agency 100 revenue chart.