Science 37 picks up $29 million more for remote clinical trials

By Jonah Comstock
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Remote clinical trial company Science 37 has raised $29 million in a round led by Glynn Capital Management with participation from Google's investment arm GV. One more new investor -- AmGen ventures -- contributed, as did existing investors Lux Capital, Redmile Group, dRx Capital, and Sanofi Ventures. It's a large round with impressive investors, but it is technically a down round from last fall's $31 million raise. It brings the company's total funding to $67 million.

Science 37 uses mobile technology to allow patients to participate in the trial from their homes. The company draws on partnerships with national mobile nursing companies, pharmacy chains, patient advocacy groups and other technology companies to deliver its "metasite" operating model that helps patients find relevant trials and researchers find appropriate patients. The company has also developed a mobile application called NORA (Network-Oriented Research Assistant), a secure patient-centric app for clinical trial data collection, reminders, document access, remote consent forms, and more. It enables secure video conferencing between patients and physicians.

"We’ve seen great success thus far in the model we developed. It has not only increased the number of people able to participate in clinical trials, but also reduced the time it takes to recruit by nearly 50 percent in some cases,” Dr. Noah Craft, cofounder and CEO of Science 37, said in a statement. “The new funding will help us drive continued expansion and recruit top talent from both the technology and from the clinical trial industries. The round will also allow us to expand into new therapeutic areas and to introduce these trials to a much broader set of demographics, including those with limited access to major medical facilities where these trials are typically offered.”

The goal is both to make clinical trials cheaper and easier to conduct, and to increase the diversity of clinical trials, which today can struggle to recruit members of minority ethnic groups.

“Many new drug candidates never get developed as a direct result of the long timelines and costs required to complete a traditional study,” Dr. Belinda Tan, cofounder and chief medical officer of Science 37, said in a statement. “The long recruitment process for trials alone is one of the biggest drivers of these drug development costs. By streamlining that process we hope to help bring new cures to patients faster.”

The company has a number of plans for this latest round of funding, including additional development of NORA, hiring additional members of its clinical operations team to support more operation, and expansion into new US markets, new therapeutic areas, and, eventually, other countries. 

“Science 37 has developed a novel, decentralized framework for running clinical trials,” Krishna Yeshwant, General Partner at GV, said in a statement. “The company has completed clinical trials with impressive early results, and has a great combination of operational expertise in clinical research, coupled with software sensibilities.”