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Clinical trial platform uses telemedicine, mobile tech to improve access, cut costs

It will use the funding to advance its approach which it describes as somewhere between a communication device and an EHR.

Science37, so named because 37C is the normal temperature of the human body, has raised a $6.5 million Series A round from dRx Capital –a joint venture between Qualcomm and Novartis, and Lux Capital‘s $350 million venture fund Lux Ventures IV.

The group of scientists who founded the company, led by co-founder and CEO Noah Craft, developed a mobile technology platform to do remote monitoring for clinical trials that would support patients as much as pharma companies. It will use the funding to advance its approach which it describes as somewhere between a communication device and an EHR.

Among its collaborators are national mobile nursing companies, pharmacy chains, patient advocacy groups and technology businesses. It also uses telemedicine tools developed in-house.

“It’s a totally new type of operating model,” Craft said in a phone interview. “We use a nice, easy interface that allows patients access from home and they can reach the principal investigator. From the patient perspective, the technology has to be built around the latest design principles, but also around security and authentication [concerns].”

Craft said the fact that the company is run by people with clinical trial experience has helped towards de-risking it for pharma companies and investors. Prior to Science37m Craft was Chief Medical Officer of VisualDx and the Chief Scientific Officer for Direct Dermatology, a teledermatology company. He has also worked as director of the Center for Immunotherapy Research at LABioMed.

Asked if companies were mostly evaluating its technology in clinical trials, Craft said: “Our technology is involved in real trials with real drugs.” As a for instance, its metasite is supporting a rare disease drug for a big pharma company in a Phase 3 clinical trial.

Clinical trial recruitment has proved to be a significant challenge for pharma companies and is viewed as one of the costliest aspects of drug development. Several companies have taken on this issue.

Adam Goulburn of Lux Capital said it wanted to invest in the business partly because it falls into clinical trial development and management — an area he said is beyond broad investor interest.

“We have looked at things in and around trial management systems, risk-based monitoring. We looked across the entire spectrum and Science37 far and away had the deepest pipeline of customers and potential customers showing interest in the technology and the solution.”

Although Craft declined to elaborate on who it is working with or even how many companies, he said the treatment areas include precision medicine for oncology, neuroscience, rare disease, and autoimmune disease. He explained its decision to go down this route instead of a more obvious one like, say, diabetes, because it wanted to improve patient access to clinical trials in these areas.

“We are turning down a lot of interest in what we’re doing. We want to focus on access to trials…You want to test in areas where the biggest impact will come. Our goal is to prove this model can open new markets.”