UTRF Feature Story: CTN2, A Statewide Enabling Collaboration for Clinical Trials

Source: UT Research Foundation | October 26, 2021 |

A subsidiary of the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, the Clinical Trials Network of Tennessee (CTN2) facilitates industry-sponsored clinical trials conducted by University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) clinical research faculty across the state. In just three years, the organization has experienced significant growth, enabling collaboration and innovation across the state to the benefit of all Tennesseans. 

Launched in 2018, CTN2 has grown to include 14 clinical partners from Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville, and has executed 46 contracts totaling $12.64 million. Of these 46 contracts, six were COVID-19-specific projects. For its first three years, the UT Board of Trustees awarded CTN2 $1 million a year to complete its objectives. After outstanding performance, UTHSC Chancellor Steve Schwab awarded CTN2 an additional $1 million for fiscal year 2022. For its fourth year, UTHSC has set a goal of $8 million for contracts, which the organization expects to exceed given its current pace.  

“We’ve done exceptionally well. During the first three years, we blew past every single goal that was given to us,” says CTN2 President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Steven Goodman. “We’ve put together a spectacular team. It’s a robust team of very talented people who understand clinical trials very well, so that’s why we’re accomplishing what we’re accomplishing.”  

Dr. Steven Goodman, President and CEO of CTN2

Goodman serves as Vice Chancellor for Research at UTHSC and Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Physiology in the College of Medicine. He also has served as the Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology and Medicine for the past 16 years. Prior to arriving at UTHSC, Steven, as Vice President for Research at SUNY Upstate ran SUNY REACH, a statewide research collaboration across academic health centers in New York. One portion of this organization was a clinical trials network. From the beginning, it was his intention to create a similar network in Tennessee.  

“CTN2 is part of a much broader plan that I had when I came in a little over 6 years ago,” says Goodman. “The real mission is to provide – through clinical trials – better therapies, whether it be drugs or devices, that can be utilized to improve the health of all Tennesseans and people around the globe.”  

Goodman assisted Dr. Bob Davis, Director for the Center for Biomedical Informatics in  establishing the UTHSC Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), which contains de-identified data for 2.3 million Tennessee patients – about one-third of the state’s total population – and partnered with TriNetX to identify new clinical trial opportunities. To Goodman, CTN2 serves as one part of a growing statewide UTHSC network, which includes the Clinical Trials Governance Board (CTGB), TN-Clinical and Translational Science Institute (TN-CTSI) and EDW. Goodman views these entities as interconnected and synergistic to each other in terms of accomplishing the goals of the individual groups. 

“What I do as Vice Chancellor for Research, President and CEO and as Editor-in-Chief are all pretty similar. I’m basically trying to stimulate collaborative networks,” says Goodman. “That’s the principle that I operate under, no matter what job I happen to be doing at the moment.”

Thanks to CTN2’s partnerships, the organization is continuously receiving clinical trial opportunities for UTHSC faculty at all of its hospitals and practice plans. To date, CTN2 has offered over 225 clinical trial opportunities to affiliated clinical faculty. 

The team at CTN2, circa 2018

“CTN2 has built a team and a network that has exceeded expectations at every step of the way,” says UTRF Vice President Richard Magid, who also sits on the CTN2 Board of Directors. “UTRF is proud to support CTN2 as it continues to grow the statewide clinical trials ecosystem, enabling even more Tennesseans to have access to cutting edge therapeutics and medical device innovations.”