The investment will accelerate Science 37's development and rollout of its new operating model, which solves some of the greatest inefficiencies in conducting clinical trials.
"Accelerating clinical trials is possible – but only if we make it easier for people to participate," said Noah Craft, MD, PhD, and co-founder and CEO of Science 37. "Clinical research design and delivery is one of the few industries that has yet to be disrupted by technology – Science 37 uses mobile engagement and locally delivered medical services to bring clinical trials to scale."
The new funding came from Lux Ventures IV, L.P., a $350 million fund targeting early-stage science and technology ventures, and the newly-formed dRx Capital, a joint venture between Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Novartis (NYSE:NVS) focused on digital medicine products, services and business models.
"We're excited to invest in and partner with the Science 37 team to usher clinical trials into the future," said Adam Goulburn, PhD, of Lux Capital. "Lux invests in bold people tackling big problems, and Science 37's approach is both. In bringing clinical trials to scale and cutting costs to develop new therapies, we'll all soon be scratching our heads wondering why it wasn't always done this way."
Science 37's new metasiteTM operating model efficiently delivers end-to-end clinical trial services under a single contract by leveraging partnerships with national mobile nursing companies, pharmacy chains, patient advocacy groups and other technology companies to maximize efficiency. The company is built on design-thinking principles and rapid prototyping to bring innovative clinical trials to patients at home and in local care circles.
"Science 37 is the kind of disruptive innovator we are looking for as an investment opportunity," said Lucian Iancovici, MD, of dRx Capital. "The company is at the heart of the digital revolution in healthcare and is fundamentally rethinking the clinical trial experience and research operations for the benefit of patients. Science 37 is an important new tool to accelerate the development of new drugs and devices across the entire pharmaceutical industry."
The pharmaceutical industry spends more than $50 billion annually on clinical trials. However, up to 90 percent of these trials face cost overruns and delays, and nearly 50 percent of research sites underperform on patient enrollment targets. Today, patients lack real-time access to information about clinical trials. More than 80 percent of patients say they are interested in participating in trials, but are hindered by mobility and distance from trial sites, with close to 70 percent of the population living more than two hours away from research sites.
The new Science 37 metasiteTM model has the potential to accelerate biomedical discovery while reducing the cost of developing new therapies. Science 37's technology platform, the Network Oriented Research Assistant (NORATM), utilizes telemedicine and coordinates mobile workforces to overcome geographic barriers and unlocks access, so anyone can take part in trials, including underserved and minority populations. NORATM puts the trial directly in patients’ hands, so research participants are better engaged with researchers and their staff. This enhanced engagement allows for better collection of high quality real world data, improved medication adherence and safety monitoring, and an increased the likelihood of trial success.
Science 37 is already proving its effectiveness by creating the only technology-enabled metasiteTM in a Phase III FDA-registered trial with a major pharmaceutical company. In this rare disease trial, Science 37 is directly recruiting participants from approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population and is far exceeding expectations on performance, while ensuring high patient satisfaction. This work helped the company earn recent recognition as "2015 Disruptive Innovator of the Year" at the DPharm: Disruptive Innovations in Pharmaceuticals Conference in September.
"We are honored to be working with two important investment leaders in the technology and health sciences venture capital space," said Dr. Craft. "As a physician-scientist, I realized that the current clinical trial process is a bottleneck to getting new biomedical discoveries to our patients who need them. We built our business model around the simple question, 'What is best for patients?' and the rest comes naturally. Our approach allows us to do great science while keeping patients safe and happy with the doctors they trust and with their families at home."