Boston-based Reify Health has secured $30m in Series B funding, in a round led by Battery Ventures. The company, known for its StudyTeam trial platform, reportedly will help fuel product development and business expansion.
Outsourcing-Pharma (OSP) recently spoke with Ralph Passarella (RP), Reify Health’s CEO and co-founder; and Michael Lin (ML), co-founder and executive chairman. In our discussion, the two discussed the infusion, and how intelligent use of technology can elevate the clinical trial industry.
OSP: Could you please share the ‘elevator presentation’ description of Reify—who you are, what you do, key capabilities/services/products, and what sets you apart from the competition?
RP: More than $4b is spent every year on technology to make trials more efficient. A shockingly small amount of that spending goes to help the staff at research sites do their work.
As important as clinical trials are, and as much money as the industry spends to run them, around 90% of research sites around the world still rely heavily on paper, spreadsheets, and sticky notes to do critical parts of their job.
We’ve built a company that places the workflow of research site staff, like clinical research coordinators, at the center of clinical trial technology. By focusing on these frontline workers - the people actually carrying out the trials and caring for patients - first, and bringing their workflow online, we create efficiencies for them and for the biopharma companies paying for the studies.
We have then connected the research sites’ systems up with other products in the ecosystem, starting with a product sponsors use to better collaborate with their research site partners on recruitment and enrollment.
There is so much opportunity to create efficiencies and build things that no one has built yet when you start thinking about the world from the perspective of research coordinators. I can’t overstate how important that is to us.
OSP: Could you please provide some detail about StudyTeam—how it works, and what current/existing issues with the clinical trial industry it’s designed to help solve?
ML: Our technology platform, called StudyTeam, upgrades the systems that healthcare staff at clinical research sites depend on to run trials. Today, site staff rely heavily on spreadsheets, paper, and sticky notes to manage critical recruitment and enrollment work - our platform helps site staff pre-screen and enroll patients more effectively as a team.
StudyTeam also brings the site workflow online and onto a shared platform with biopharma sponsors. Site staff using StudyTeam spend significantly less time documenting and sharing information with their sponsor and CRO partners and more time doing the valuable, time-sensitive work of enrolling patients.
On the other side of the equation, our sponsor partners gain valuable recruitment and enrollment insights they have always struggled to access efficiently and effectively. We connect sponsors and CROs to the workflow of their research site partners around the world.
Sponsors and CROs using StudyTeam have end-to-end visibility into the patient recruitment funnel. They can better plan how to enroll their trials quickly and take much faster action if enrollment is falling behind.
We are also partnering with patient recruitment companies to make their referral handoffs to sites easier and to further increase sponsor visibility across different recruitment channels. These are some of the reasons why we see an average reduction of enrollment timelines by 6 weeks per trial when sponsors and sites use StudyTeam together.
OSP: What do you hope to accomplish with the Series B funding?
ML: The funding will go primarily toward product development and supporting global expansion.
For product development, we will accelerate our core recruitment and enrollment solution. This funding will also support the expansion of the StudyTeam platform into other key workflows that research sites and sponsors are asking us to help them with.
For global expansion, it’s both about expanding our global presence and deepening our services to each country we serve. Clinical trials are a critical component of our global healthcare system. Over the last couple years, we’ve grown to serving research sites in 26 countries. We are dedicating time, effort, and people toward delivering the same incredible experience that North American research sites have interacting with Reify Health to the research sites in countries like Brazil, South Korea, and Australia.
OSP: Could you please share how the pandemic is challenging clinical trial professionals, and how StudyTeam might help overcome some of the obstacles?
RP: The COVID-19 pandemic has shown all of us how much speed matters in clinical development. Just like we are all here waiting on vaccines and treatments that will help us get back to “normal,” patients around the world are waiting on metastatic breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, and severe ulcerative colitis trials to finish. This pandemic has underscored the importance of the work clinical trial professionals do each and every day.
It has also made the work of clinical trial professionals much more challenging. Entire trials are going on pause, specific countries are delayed from starting enrollment, individual sites have been closed, re-opened, and closed again as COVID-19 has moved through the world.
Our customers are doing everything they can to put infrastructure in place to operate more effectively in a fully remote environment and to prepare trial teams to respond quickly to additional changes COVID-19 may bring about.
Our platform, StudyTeam, has helped our sponsor partners by providing them with real-time visibility into trial operations that have traditionally required live communication with site staff. We’re also helping our sponsor partners re-engage their sites in pre-screening and recruitment activities as they reopen enrollment on mission critical trials.
Our site partners have found StudyTeam to be invaluable in supporting their work during this pandemic. They have relied on StudyTeam to prepare their staff and their patients for the moment when trial enrollment does re-open, so they can hit the ground running to meet important enrollment timelines.
Bigger picture, we are seeing sites and sponsors begin to leverage StudyTeam to recruit and manage clinical trial patients in a more distributed, decentralized environment. We are seeing what everyone else in the industry is seeing - an accelerated adoption of technology that supports more decentralized clinical trials - and we are very excited to be playing an integral role in that movement with our site and sponsor partners.
OSP: What else would you like to share that we didn’t touch upon above?
RP: We are working with some of the largest sponsors in the world across their entire Phase 1-4 portfolios, a number of smaller biotech companies with 1-2 trials, and all manner of companies in between. The common thread through everything we do is partnering with people and companies who have a passion for improving the way we run clinical trials by improving the ability for site staff to do their work.
Anyone out there who is motivated to help us build this better future, we encourage them to reach out to us. Change is hard -- we need to work together as an industry to make it happen.