The latest infusion of investment funding for Medable’s promotion of decentralized trial technology brings the company’s total capital to more than $136m. The funding round was led by Sapphire Ventures, with follow-on investment from existing investors GSR Ventures, PPD and Streamlined Ventures.
Outsourcing-Pharma (OSP) spoke with Alison Holland (AH), head of decentralized trials with Medable, about the investment, the rapid evolution of virtual research technology, and what might lie ahead.
OSP: Could you please talk a bit about the evolution of decentralized trial technology—how have acceptance and use evolved in recent years?
AH: Historically, clinical trials and indeed healthcare, have predominantly relied upon traditional face-to-face experiences, with patients making multiple visits to clinics for care and oversight. Many data sources report that patients travel, on average, 30 miles to their research clinic, which adds significant burden that is amplified for fragile and vulnerable patients.
As we have all become more comfortable with managing other aspects of our lives online, such as banking and shopping, we are extending that convenience to healthcare, particularly clinical trials.
Now, Medable’s agile, open-architected platform with unified modules enable us to offer patients a connected healthcare experience from home, with the assurance that their data and health oversight can be reviewed, in real time, by their trusted clinical team. Evolving past multiple different point systems to a unified ecosystem offers ease and simplicity for sites and patients to enhance their engagement, provide real time access to actionable data, and support a high-value experience.
OSP: Please tell us how Medable has approached decentralized tech—what solutions have you worked on and offered to your clients?
AH: With so many decentralized technology solutions circulating in our industry promising so much, but often failing to deliver, Medable has focused on simplicity, ease of use, and a seamless experience for users – trial sites and patients. Essentially, we are centralizing to decentralize by delivering a modular, unified suite of options that can be deployed from a scalable and adaptable library to provide choices about how to participate in a particular study.
Each protocol and study design has unique parameters and pairing that with study drug SOC safety profile, the appropriate choices and options are different each time. Force-fitting one solution often just shifts the burden from one party to another, rather than considering the best options and underlying workflows that eases the participation experience for patients and sites and streamlines overly complex clinical trial burdens.
As a result of our engagement of patients in the design of our platform, we see success across multiple deployments, including an elderly population of 9000 patients engaging remotely.
OSP: Can you talk about any of the specific technologies and projects you plan on using the funding to fuel?
AH: Medable has experienced accelerating growth since our last round of funding in May 2020. Much of it in the spring and early summer was driven by clinical research teams looking for immediate solutions to adapt clinical trials for remote and decentralized settings; specifically, they needed telemedicine solutions that could enable remote interactions between patient and doctor.
As we progressed into the fall, we saw accelerating interest in our full Decentralized Clinical Trial (DCT) platform as a flexible solution to address ongoing needs to enhance enrollment and retention, improve data quality and expand patient access to trials; by minimizing the need for in-person site visits, Medable customers have achieved unprecedented results – including 3X faster patient enrollment and over 90% retention rates. This is fueling further growth across our entire line of offerings, particularly with our TeleVisit, TeleConsent, and TeleCOA applications.
OSP: Why did Medable appeal to these investors as a good target for their funding?
AH: This recent round was led by Sapphire Ventures and GSR Ventures. Both are focused on utilizing technology to solve big business problems, in this case how to meaningfully improve clinical trials using decentralized clinical trial (DCT) technologies; both bring a wealth of experience and expertise in helping fast-growing technology companies to scale to meet the emerging needs of stakeholders -- the patients and clinicians who now need to rapidly adapt to decentralized methodologies.
With our accelerating growth, the time is right to meaningfully scale each element of the Medable business. This ranges from investments in product innovation to customer success, quality, and commercial operations.
With our pipeline, bookings, and revenue scaling in tandem, it is important that we meet this moment and deliver an exceptional customer, patient, and clinician experience across every facet of our organization.
OSP: Is there anything you’d like to add that we didn’t touch upon above?
AH: In the next year or two, Medable will continue to lead the transformation of clinical trials to digital and decentralized modalities. This includes continued focus on streamlining data capture and clinical trial processes to improve measurement of safety and efficacy, while investing in technology and process innovations that improve patient access, retention, and outcomes.