Health Tech

Inato Snags $20M to Make Clinical Trials More Diverse & Accessible

Inato recently raised $20 million in Series A2 funding for its tech platform, which enables access to inclusive clinical trials. The two-way platform brings exposure to community-based providers who often are overlooked by Big Pharma for clinical trial sites by allowing providers to apply for clinical trials in which they’re interested.

Almost three-quarters of all clinical trials are run by the same 5% of academic sites, according to Inato CEO Kourosh Davarpanah. 

“This lack of patient access causes trial delays and costs to skyrocket, ultimately constraining medical innovation and patient diversity,” he said during a recent interview.

On Wednesday, his company announced that it has raised $20 million in Series A2 funding for its tech platform, which enables access to inclusive clinical trials. The financing round, which raised the company’s total funding to date to $36 million, included Obvious Ventures, Cathay Innovation, La Maison and Top Harvest Capital.

Founded in 2020, Inato’s mission is to help small community research sites gain more access to clinical trials for their patient populations, “regardless of who they are or where they live,” Davarpanah declared. 

The company is “built for sites,” he added.

“The standard site selection model relies on sponsors to identify the sites for their trials, resulting in the same, mainly academic sites, being chosen time and time again. Inato’s two-sided platform completely flips this model by giving community research sites the power to identify and select trials that are best for them and their patients,” Davarpanah explained.

Clinical trial sponsors post the high-level details of their upcoming trials on Inato’s platform, where community providers across the globe can view the opportunity and apply if they’re interested. When applying for a trial, providers get the chance to showcase their unique attributes and patients, giving trial sponsors access to information that is rarely available to them. 

This process means that more patients get to access trials that are close to home and have care teams they trust. For the sponsors, this means that their research will be more diverse, inclusive and meaningful for health equity.

“Community-based sites are perpetually overlooked as they remain caught in a vicious cycle of mistrust. They lack access to most trials, forcing them to participate, then underperform, in ill-fitting studies, ultimately losing the sponsors’ trust. To derail this trend, community sites on Inato’s platform are given the power to view all upcoming trial opportunities and raise their hand to be selected for the ones that are right for them,” Davarpanah said.

When showing sponsors profiles that wouldn’t otherwise be on their radar, Inato allows them to see information about anything from a research site’s performance in similar trials to the languages spoken by the staff and their demographic patients’ breakdown to a computed estimation of the number of patients the site is expected to enroll, Davarpanah explained.

Inato’s platform is free for community providers, but not for the sponsors. The company charges sponsors “based on their goals and how [Inato] helps them deliver on those goals,” Davarpanah said. He also shared that Inato works with more than 2,600 community research sites worldwide and 10 of the top 30 pharma companies.

For example, the company recently announced its expanded partnership with Sanofi. Inato is now collaborating across Sanofi’s entire immunology portfolio to give more patients access to trials for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, ulcerative colitis, chronic spontaneous urticaria and atopic dermatitis. With these trials, the partners plan to leverage more than 350 community research sites through Inato’s platform, Davarpanah declared.

But Inato isn’t the only startup focused on increasing clinical trials’ diversity and accessibility — there’s also startups like Paradigm. Davarpanah argued that Inato is the only one focused on empowering community providers and only one with a two-way platform that lets them apply directly to the Big Pharma trials in which they’re interested.

“Inato is built for sites and we are helping to solve a very unique and important pain point – access to the right trials for community sites and their patients. Many companies in the space are focused primarily on very different aspects,” he said.

Photo: DrAfter123, Getty Images