As biotechs look to get clinical studies back on track amid the pandemic, Medable returned to the venture well for the second time this year, bagging a $91 million Series C to build out its virtual trial platform.
The software provider recently launched three new apps for decentralizing clinical trials, and saw a 500% revenue spike this year. And it isn’t alone. Back in August, Science 37 secured a $40 million round for its virtual trial tech, with support from Novartis, Sanofi Ventures and Amgen. Patients and researchers are taking a liking to the online approach, suggesting regulators could allow it to become a new normal even after the pandemic is over.
“The pandemic has made the world aware of the importance of clinical drug development,” Medable CEO Michelle Longmire said in a statement.
Decentralized trials are simply more convenient — volunteers can pick up a phone to participate, rather than risking a visit to a clinical trial site, many of which are operating under restrictions amid the pandemic.
According to a GlobalData poll posted in September, 67% of health experts surveyed said they plan on conducting decentralized clinical trials due to Covid-19. According to Medable, its customers are reporting faster patient enrollment and increased retention rates.
Paraxel, another virtual trial player, said trials using “patient-centric designs” take less time to recruit the first 100 patients — an average of 4 months versus 7 for all trials.
“Many data sources report that patients travel, on average, 30 miles to their research clinic, which adds a significant time and effort burden, which is further amplified for fragile and vulnerable patients,” Medable SVP of marketing David Swanger said in an emailed statement. “As we have all become more comfortable with managing other aspects of our lives online, such as banking and shopping, then it is reasonable we would like to extend that ability and convenience to healthcare participation, particularly clinical trials.”
This year, the Palo Alto, CA-based company launched TeleVisit, which connects patients with site coordinators and investigators; TeleConsent, which allows patients to virtually consent and re-consent to clinical trials; and TeleCOA, which combines electronic Clinical Outcome Assessments (eCOAs) with TeleVisits. It also struck partnerships with Datavant, AliveCor and MRN.
“We’re excited to break down yet another barrier, and streamline the path to greater participant diversity, access, and engagement,” Longmire said.
Since its founding in 2015, Medable has raised more than $136 million. The Series C was led by Sapphire Ventures, with a hand from GSR Ventures and Streamlined Ventures — the latest and likely not the last investors to bet on a virtual future for clinical trials.