Technology allows us to instantly message or video chat with people halfway across the world, and now companies like Science 37 makes it possible to participate in clinical trials from the comfort of your own homes. Science 37 partners with pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions to design flexible, decentralized clinical trials. By making the barrier to participate lower, organizations can recruit participants faster, increase retention rates, include a representative patient population, drastically reduce the cost of trials, and accelerate the speed to market.
LA TechWatch caught up with CPO Christopher Ceppi to learn more about Science37 and its plans to expand to 30+ countries, the company’s response to the pandemic, and recent funding round, which brings the total funding raised to $147.5M across five rounds.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Science 37® closed an oversubscribed $40M (Series D1) funding round. Existing investors Lux Capital, Redmile Group, and PPD, Inc. led the round, and are joined by existing investors Novartis, Amgen, Sanofi Ventures, GV, and Glynn Capital. Notable new investors include LifeSci Ventures and Mubadala Ventures.
Tell us about the product or service Science 37 offers.
As the industry leader in decentralized clinical trials, Science 37 broke from the traditional site-based clinical research model because we wanted to deliver an experience built on human connection. Our mission—to accelerate research by putting patients first—fuels our model where people can participate in clinical trials from the comfort of home, anywhere in the world.
When you simplify clinical research and focus on patients, so much more is possible. A more diverse and representative group of people can access and participate in research. Participants can be reached more quickly and stay engaged because it’s built around their lives. It all comes down to making clinical research more human and accessible.
Working with pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions, Science 37 helps design and orchestrate decentralized clinical trials with a flexible business model—enabling a choice between fully decentralized trials, a Science 37 Metasite™—a virtual arm to a traditional site network—and best-in-class Science 37 technology with optional services. With a Science 37 decentralized clinical trial model, sponsors can maximize drug development efficiency, reduce time to market for treatments, and ensure an optimal patient experience.
What inspired the start of Science 37?
Science 37 was founded around a passion for patient-centric medicine and making virtual clinical research a reality. Our mission continues to be driven by the realization that traditional clinical trials are often so slow and inefficient that they prevent effective treatments from ever making it to the patients who need them. Technology can dramatically alter the way clinical trials are conducted, and that addressing the patient’s needs first and foremost would allow for faster recruitment, better retention, massive cost efficiencies, and more diversity within patient populations. Science 37 is widely recognized as the world leader in designing and executing virtual clinical trials, and continues to innovate its product to meet the needs of patients and sponsors across the industry.
How is Science 37 different?
Unlike the traditional site-based model of clinical research, Science 37 executes all elements of the clinical trial life cycle virtually—from recruitment to study closeout—and supports this approach with the industry’s first and only technology platform purpose-built to execute virtual trials. Our model has proven to enroll faster than traditional site-based studies and reach a more diverse patient population, both of which are critical in getting breakthrough medicines and therapies to the people who need them most. Plus, we’ve conducted more interventional virtual trials than any other company on the planet.
What market is Science 37 targeting and how big is it?
According to industry figures, the global clinical trial market is expected to reach nearly $70B over the next seven years.
What’s your business model?
We work with pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions to design and orchestrate decentralized or virtual clinical trials with a flexible business model—enabling a choice between fully decentralized trials, a Science 37 Metasite™—a virtual arm to a traditional site network—and best-in-class Science 37 technology with optional services.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
COVID-19 has actually made it easier for the industry to realize the value of our decentralized research model. As many in the industry have realized over the past few months, a virtual or decentralized research model can help keep patients and study teams safe, support the global effort to contain the virus, and provide business continuity during the pandemic. We think this can also help reduce the burden on healthcare systems and personnel who are already dealing with extraordinary circumstances brought on by the pandemic.
Many sponsors are now incorporating the decentralized approach into their long-term patient-centric strategies. These companies are looking to incorporate telemedicine, minimize the number of in-person interactions for patients, and have trial medication shipped directly to patients—elements that the Science 37 model already provides.
What was the funding process like?
This isn’t our first round of funding, so we knew it was important to show both our progress and our potential in the global market. The fact that existing investors felt so strongly about our position that they’ve provided additional funding is a great endorsement.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
We have an incredibly strong group of investors that have not only been supportive over the years but also share our vision to help democratize clinical research—bringing clinical research to patients anywhere, around the world.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We’ll continue to support our rapid growth, expand our technology platform, and accelerate our global expansion efforts. By strengthening our global presence, we can help sponsors execute more decentralized clinical research without limitations.
In addition to expanding global capacity, we continue to enhance our best-in-class technology platform, the industry’s first and only platform purpose-built to support virtual trials. The platform will be deployed in more than 30 countries and is now available in more than 40 languages—ensuring a seamless user experience for a myriad of international stakeholders.
The platform will be deployed in more than 30 countries and is now available in more than 40 languages—ensuring a seamless user experience for a myriad of international stakeholders.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh
injection of capital in the bank?
It’s a difficult time all around, so our advice is to make sure you’re truly filling an unmet need and find investors that share your vision.
What is your favorite restaurant in LA?
Providence, Felix, and Teddy’s Red Tacos.
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