Emerging Decentralized Clinical Trials Mobile Platform Upstart Secures $25m and Fuel During Pivot from COVID-19

May 5, 2020 | Coronavirus, COVID-19, Decentralized Clinical Trials, Digital, Investor Watch, Mobile, News, Patient-Centric Trials

Emerging Decentralized Clinical Trials Mobile Platform Upstart Secures $25m and Fuel During Pivot from COVID-19

Medable, a Silicon Valley-based mobile app vendor seeking to decentralize clinical trials and reduce clinical trial timelines by 50%, has raised $25 million in funding to take their startup to the next level. The company seeks to help the drug development sector overcome siloed systems with integrated digital tools, data and interfaces to accelerate trial execution while in parallel working to connects patients, sites and clinical trial teams to improve patient access, experience and outcomes.

Where did the funding come from?

This funding comes from early-stage health care and artificial intelligence investor GSR Ventures, with additional investment form existing PPD Inc. Medable last raised $5 million in venture funding in February 2017, reports Crunchbase data. This raises the total amount of capital to more than $45 million. Sunny Kumar, MD, a GSR Ventures’ Partner, will join the board of Medable.

Use of Funds

Medable will use its new funds to extend product development, grow its partnership base and market adoption for the decentralized platform. TrialSite News will break these elements down further down these pages.

Fundamental Use Case

As noted in a recent CrunchBase news release, prior to COVID-19 there were 50,000 active clinical trials, reported Medable’s CEO Michelle Longmire, MD, and now there are 70 clinical trials related to COVID-19 either ongoing or soon to be launched. Ms. Longmire correctly identified that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic decentralized clinical trials, although gaining momentum, were yet still considered novel and on the leading edge of innovation—despite the fact that there was a growing use of telehealth in various sectors and that firms, such as Science 37, has established solid industry presence. 

However, post-COVID-19 it is a different world with a new set of challenges, constraints and now opportunities for ventures that supply clinical trial sponsors with technologies that support decentralization.

Traction

TrialSite News researchers have observed Medable gaining momentum in the market reflected by a growing number of customers, partners, and industry activity.  This financing certainly reflects a level of achievement for a new, fledging startup.

For example, their “digital platform-as-a-service” is employed by a growing number of sponsors and contract research organizations (CROs) across 26 languages showcasing their global trajectory. Of course, their PPD deal has helped them “harden” their understanding offerings in the market as PPD is one of the larger CROs.

Their partnership with ALiveCore introduces the pairing of the Medable decentralized clinical trial and the partner’s AI-based, personal ECG technology to scale remote clinical trials by enabling in-home ECGs with AliveCor’s KardiaMobile6L, the word’s only FDA-cleared six-lead personal ECG.

Company Status

TrialSite News estimates that Medable’s cost structure has significant risen since last reviewing them—it is estimated that the company employs about 125 and that may not include any outsourcing activity. Their cost structure could be running in the $10 to $15 million per year, which presupposes a rapid scale up of clinical trials. Although the startup is poised to capitalize on a shift in paradigm that the pandemic has introduced, the industry also faced a sudden and painful slow down that will impact all vendors. As curves flatten and test and contact tracing schemes are mobilized across societies, Medable finds itself in a good position to capitalize on the changes.

Risks

But the company faces considerable challenges as well. Although with a growing sales force and partnership channel, to propagate its product offerings (and hence monetize) it will have to work in a fast and furious manner as there are competitive approaches to decentralize research. Sales cycles for biopharma (regardless of size) are long and to keep up with bigger players such as Veeva, competitive CROs, etc. sales and marketing costs will rise considerably—although a smart partnership channel strategy (e.g. OEM, private label deals, etc.) can counter that cost pressure. Building and enhancing the product to take on end-to-end enterprise decentralization for global clinical trials represents another area of risk and opportunity—and of course, cost. The company will need to develop hooks into a number of “eClinical” systems from eTMFs to EDC and CTMS to site side technologies. FDA-regulated markets are represented by conservative, diligent buyers (even though COVID-19 has truly accelerated activity).

Conclusion

Medable is an impressive company. Founded in 2015, in just five years they have emerged on the global clinical trials landscape as a significant vendor representing a path forward for clinical trials sponsors. They just secured the fuel to travel to the next chapter or two of that story. The company’s founders, management and investors benefit from the fundamental underlying trends, which improves their odds for success.

Source: Crunchbase

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