PALO ALTO, Calif.—In November, Medable Inc announced a sizable contribution to the life-science industry’s shift to digital and decentralized clinical trials to the tune of $91 million. The Series C funding round—led by Sapphire Ventures, with follow-on investment from existing investors GSR Ventures, PPD Inc., and Streamlined Ventures—brings Medable’s total capital raised to over $136 million.
The timing of this funding is critical, as Medable has played a pivotal role enabling clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic by facilitating the continuation of existing research via remote care as well as accelerating development of vaccines and therapeutics for COVID- 19.
The industry has been searching for ways to make this shift possible for years, and Medable has been no different. This put the company in a strong position to quickly adjust their plans and push forward the launch of several possible modules, such as one web module designed to eliminate the dependence on devices that were left difficult to access by COVID-19’s disruption to supply chains.
“The pandemic has made the world aware of the importance of clinical drug development,” said Dr. Michelle Longmire, CEO and co-founder of Medable. “We need transformative technologies that break down critical barriers to improve patient access, experience, and outcomes. This new funding will enable Medable to continue our aggressive pursuit of new technologies that improve clinical trials to benefit all patients.”
Traditionally, clinical trials have required frequent on-site visits, making them inaccessible to many patients due to distance, family commitments, financial limitations, or physical inability to travel.
“There is a gross lack of awareness of clinical trial options so only a fraction of potential patients has entered studies,” Medable’s head of Decentralized Trials, Alison Holland, tells DDN. “By breaking down these constraints and facilitating remote engagement as well as broader awareness campaigns, Medable and our ecosystem of trial partners can extend trial accessibility to many more patients.”
Holland adds that in just the first month of 2021, they have seen patient screening and eligibility review happen three times faster by eliminating the need for on-site visits. In addition, these modules offer patients more choices and trial adaptations to meet unique and undermet needs, whether for personal preference, physical needs, or compliance with standard regulations. Many of Medable’s online and mobile apps are interchangeable and cross platform, allowing participants to pick and choose what works best for their local environment and phase of study. All of this makes the experience for both doctors and patients seamless from start to finish.
Medable’s platform has been used for registrational clinical trials across a variety of therapeutic areas worldwide in more than 60 countries, enabling participation in over 40 languages. With a new TeleVisit mobile application co-developed and deployed with PPD, as well as TeleConsent and TeleCOA applications, patients can be connected virtually with sites and sponsors using web and mobile technologies. These apps allow patients to get clinical advice, capture informed consent and re-consent, and share outcome assessments from the comfort of a patient’s home, anywhere in the world.
Medable recently entered into global partnerships with Datavant to help clinical trial teams easily integrate multiple data sources for decentralized trial design, recruitment and data management and MRN, enabling home clinical trial specialists to conduct home and remote visits using Medable’s Trial-Fit Telemedicine solution. This is an addition to a partnership with AliveCor to dramatically scale remote clinical trials by enabling the use of AliveCor’s in-home ECGs as part of Medable’s platform. Additionally, Medable has established its Patient Advisory Council, a nationwide network of advocates who advise Medable and biopharma customers on ways to improve patient access, experience, and outcomes in clinical trials, ensuring patient-centric approaches throughout the process. By reaching out to partners in home nursing groups, wearable technologies providers, and recruitment companies, Medable has been able to develop a product with the best experience, efficiency, and quality possible.
In the last year, Medable launched a multi-company research framework to accelerate the development of diagnostics and treatments for COVID-19, providing a mobile application and secure infrastructure to connect health researchers and clinical trial teams with up to millions of home-bound individuals in the United States, and joined the Global Genes RARE Corporate Alliance to help expedite therapies for rare disease patients.
“The impact Medable has created—helping ensure patients have continued access to clinical trials in spite of the challenges created by COVID-19—is nothing short of tremendous,” stated Dr. Sunny Kumar, partner at GSR Ventures. “Michelle and her team have demonstrated how a patient-focused solution can catalyze true innovation in clinical trials. We have full confidence that Medable’s digital and decentralized trial platform will define the next frontier of medication development.”
Medable has seen rapid eCOA adoption, driving the field forward with enhancements including connected devices and telemedicine. The demand for remote clinical trial technologies has been pushed to a top priority by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Medable is enabling complex research protocols to be conducted remotely through its platform. By minimizing the need for in-person site visits, Medable customers have achieved unprecedented results, including 3x faster enrollment and over retention rates 90 percent.
“At Sapphire, we work with visionary teams and companies that focus on massive trends and are doing good for the world,” commented David Hartwig, managing director at Sapphire Ventures and Medable’s new board member. “We’re all aware of the challenges with clinical trials, and it’s a problem we’re excited to help solve. Medable is doing groundbreaking work, and we’re excited to partner with Michelle and team as they revolutionize how care is being delivered by digitizing the clinical trial process.”
As the decentralized model becomes a part of most clinical trials, Medable will be able to expand its unified system of deployable modules. As the industry continues to make progress in digital technologies—including wearable devices, diagnostics, scales, and instruments—researchers and developers will be able to collect more real world evidence to see what needs are yet to be met. This will allow new options to emerge, such as direct-to-patient follow up studies and post-vaccine studies. In the end, Medable aims to provide more patient-directed engagement, offering more choices surrounding healthcare, trial accessibility, and drug development.
Medable’s chief product officer, Parag Vaish, noted that “Medable is committed to accelerating patient-centric experience through best-in-class product evolution that solves for the un-sated future needs as well as improving the decentralized capabilities of today. Patient experiences will become as elegant and easy to use as what is expected in most consumer mobile experiences. And, someday soon, expect clinical trial participation to become common conversation at a family dinner party, because awareness and accessibility will expand exponentially.”