Science 37 raises $31M from Sanofi, others for mobile clinical trials offering

By Heather Mack
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Mobile clinical trials company Science 37, which connects willing individuals to researchers so they can participate in trials from their homes, has raised $31 million in Series B funding. Previously, the company raised $6.5 million.

The round was led by Redmile Group, with participation from Lux Capital and Sanofi Genzyme BioVentures, the latter of which will also provide Science 37 with technical and strategic guidance. The funding will be used to help the company further develop its technology and continue to expand into new therapeutic areas.

"We are excited to expand our investment mandate in the digital health space and to start this new initiative with Science 37, a leading company applying transformative digital techniques to clinical trial design and enrollment," Sanofi Genzyme BioVentures Managing Director Bernard Davititan said in a statement. "This investment is fully aligned with Sanofi's digital strategy and provides an opportunity for us to play an active role in this area of the digital revolution."

The setup, recruitment and retention of clinical trials is a complex and challenging process, often taking six to nine years and costing more than the original budget. This is compounded by the fact that up to 70 percent of potential participants live outside of local trial sites. So, Science37 aims to replace physical trial sites with a single “metasite” – using an app to bring the clinical trial directly into the patient’s home. The metasite is powered by a cloud-based mobile research platform called Network Oriented Research Assistant (NORA),which connects investigators and patients securely. The goal is to streamline trial setup and recruitment, as well as improve patient retention.

“The clinical trial process represents significant cost and risk in the development cycle for new therapeutics and medical devices,” Rob Faulkner, managing director of Redmile Group who will now serve on the board of directors at Science 37, said in a statement. “Science 37 brings a revolutionary approach to the clinical trial process and our investment underscores our confidence in the company’s ability to deliver faster and less expensive clinical trials.”

The company facilitates trials across six therapeutic areas – cancer, dermatology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, neuroscience and a couple of rare diseases (sickle cell anemia and hemophilia).

The bonus for patients is that participating in a trial doesn’t necessarily have to to disrupt the rest of their life too much. For one, they don’t have to worry about traveling to a trial site, and they can also retain their existing doctor and have access to telemedicine services.

“We started with the simple question, ‘What is best for patients?’ and built our technology and new clinical trial operating model around the answers,” Science 37 CEO and cofounder Dr. Noah Craft said in a statement. “With this latest Series B funding, we will be able to create an even greater impact and achieve our mission of unlocking patient access to clinical trials. Our investors understand how we fit into the larger digital revolution that is forcing healthcare companies to think big, learn fast, adapt successfully, and enable patients to take a more proactive role in their own health.”