Tech-enabled clinical trial platform Castor secures $12 million to further COVID-19 research

Its electronic data capturing tool enables researchers to gather information from clinicians, patients, devices, wearables and electronic health records to build a study.
By Mallory Hackett
12:08 pm
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Castor, a cloud-based clinical data platform designed to automate the research process, announced recently it closed a $12 million Series A funding round.

Two Sigma Ventures led the round with participation from Hambrecht Ducera Growth Ventures and existing investor INKEF Capital.

This brings Castor's total funding to over $18 million, following an earlier investment from INKEF Capital in 2018.

WHAT IT DOES

Castor was created in 2012 by founder and CEO Derk Arts to simplify the research process through a platform that captures and integrates data from any source into one system.

Its electronic-data-capturing tool enables researchers to gather information from clinicians, patients, devices, wearables and electronic health records to build a study.

The platform has been used in more than 4,000 studies with more than two million enrolled patients across 90 countries, according to Castor.

In February, the company made its electronic-data-capturing system free for all COVID-19 research projects. Since then, more than 200 COVID-19 projects have used the platform, capturing more than 10 million data points, the company reports.

WHAT IT’S FOR

The funding will be used to make clinical trials more impactful in three ways: making research more patient-centric, creating more meaningful data and addressing underserved communities, according to Arts.

“With this new investment, we will be able to make significant progress in all three areas by continuing to deliver user-friendly, accessible technology that can support remote trials, while ensuring machine-readable output that allows for trial automation and data reuse,” Arts said in a statement. “In the next 18 months, we intend to support our customers with patient recruitment and synthetic control arms, through better use of their data. We are excited to partner with Two Sigma Ventures, who bring extensive experience in leveraging the power of data and AI to disrupt incumbent industries.”

MARKET SNAPSHOT

The use of remote clinical trials has become increasingly popular during the pandemic, since they allow researchers to gather a larger participant group while keeping them protected from the COVID-19 virus.

Historically, women have been an underrepresented group in research, but technology could be a strategy to improve diversity in clinical trials.

Medable, another company using digital tools to help facilitate clinical trials, raised $25 million in May for new product development, partnerships and market adoption.

The platform World Without COVID also recently launched with the goal of connecting patients to coronavirus clinical trials across the country. On the platform, patients can sign up and enter information about whether they are fully healthy, recovered from coronavirus or currently have the virus. Next, the tool walks volunteers through a questionnaire. Patients are then presented with clinical trials that best match them based on condition, trial location, phase of the study and other factors.

ON THE RECORD

“We believe that the life sciences industry is lacking a comprehensive and scalable solution for recruiting candidates for clinical trials, managing the research process, and effectively harnessing the vast amounts of data those clinical trials produce to drive medical breakthroughs,” said Villi Iltchev, a partner at Two Sigma Ventures, in a statement. “Castor’s technology and team have the ability to meet all of those needs as evidenced by their customer demand and ability to enter new segments. It is our belief that their vision to enable AI and automation in clinical trials will quickly change the face of clinical research.”

 

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