BioPharma, Pharma, Startups

First cohort of digital health startups graduates from PharmStars accelerator

PharmStars, an accelerator for companies developing digital solutions for pharmaceutical companies, has graduated its first class of startups. The theme for this initial group was “innovation in clinical trials.”


Digital biomarkers. Patient engagement tools. Software for clinical trial design and recruitment. These technologies and more are represented in the first group of companies to graduate from PharmStars, an accelerator program for digital health startups that are developing pharmaceutical industry-focused technologies.

PharmStars is led by founder and CEO Naomi Fried, a former pharmaceuticals executive who saw gaps and missed connections in the ways that pharma companies and digital health startups interact. Fried formed PharmStars to help digital health startups improve how they develop solutions for pharma companies and how they present these solutions to potential pharma industry customers or partners.

Startups participated in a 10-week “PharmaU” program designed to teach them about the pharma industry, covering topics such as organizational structure, regulation, and dealmaking. Class was four hours a week. Participating companies also received personalized mentoring to prepare them to interact with pharma companies. Pharma companies that are members of PharmStars include Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca subsidiary Alexion, Boehringer Ingelheim, Takeda Pharmaceutical, Novo Nordisk, and Sumitovant.

More than 70 companies representing 18 countries applied for 10 slots in the first cohort of accelerator participants. That group was later expanded to 12 due to what PharmStars said was the quality and quantity of the applicants. All of the applicants are developing technologies focused on the theme for this cohort: innovations in clinical trials.

The graduates are as follows:

Droice Labs. New York-based developer of data harmonization real-world evidence generation from electronic medical records and other unstructured data sources.

EVOCAL Health. Hamburg, Germany-based company with a vocal biomarker platform for continuous data capture and monitoring of patients with respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

Liyfe. A New York company with an AI-based digital nurse chatbot for patient engagement and capture of RWE in oncology and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Longenesis. Latvian company with a clinical trial participant identification and engagement platform for efficient trial preparation and enrollment.

Neucruit. London company leveraging social media platform for clinical trial recruitment.

Nori Health. Digital health company in Amsterdam that has an app for managing and capturing real-world evidence from inflammatory bowel disease patients.

nQ Medical. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company with a passive, personal device-based digital biomarker for cognitive and motor disorders.

Prism Analytic Technologies. Also based in Cambridge, Prism has a data analytics and visualization platform for selecting and optimizing clinical trial endpoints and trial designs for any disease.

Seascape Clinical. This Redwood City, California-based company’s clinical operations platform eliminates repetitive manual tasks and context switching for faster trials and quicker insights, as well team collaboration.

SmartTab. Denver company with an ingestible technology for targeted, oral delivery of biologics and other medications. Developer of a data mesh platform to harmonize siloed data sources with an analytics layer, which the San Francisco-based startup says enables data-driven decision-making in drug development.

The Clinician. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, The Clinician has a bi-directional patient communication and engagement platform intended to improve the effectiveness of decentralized clinical trials.

For 2022, PharmStars plans to accept two new groups of startups. The themes for each of them have not yet been announced.

Public domain photo by Flickr user Tullio Saba