By Samantha Denefrio PhD
What the company does?
Clinical research trials for new drugs and treatment approaches to any number of diseases are often costly, slow, and limited in scope. TrialSpark takes the guesswork and growing pains out of starting pharmaceutical clinical trials by overseeing all aspects of clinical research from recruitment and set-up to maintenance and completion. They use technology to identify pockets of potential patients and help equip doctors with the infrastructure and oversight to efficiently run a clinical trial to help those patients.
According to TrialSpark: “The bottleneck of getting new treatments to patients is the time it takes to run a clinical trial, not the ability to discover new drugs (which is actually becoming more efficient). We started TrialSpark with this vision: to decrease the time and cost of a clinical trial, so that every year we can test more life-impacting treatments for real human diseases, ultimately bringing them to patients faster.”
TrialSpark works directly with drug developers, doctors, and potential patients to create opportunities for clinical research outside of large cities and universities. Once a population of patients have been identified, they combine a team of engineers, researchers, and designers to bring a clinical trial to the local doctor’s office. Each doctor that joins a clinical trial will be able to offer his or her patients access to an experimental treatment that may significantly improve quality of life.
Recently, TrialSpark has partnered with Novartis and has launched clinical trial sites in the New York City to test a treatment for ankylosing spondylitis – a type of arthritis in the joints of the spine. In the spirit of TrialSpark’s mission, the goal of this partnership for Novartis is to “reach those under-represented and underserved populations and bring new investigational treatments to patients in new locations” (PR Newswire).
What problem does it solve?
Patients who do not live in cities near large hospitals and academic medical schools often never learn about or have access to groundbreaking clinical trials that directly target their disease and specific symptoms. With TrialSpark’s technology, these patients may be able to participate in appropriate trials at their local doctor’s office. They have created a platform that offers “precision-targeted recruitment, algorithmically prioritized queues, risk-based quality monitoring and cloud-based CTMS/eSource data capture” (FierceBiotech).
CEO and founder Benjamine Liu Ph.D. believes that the problem is not a shortage a new candidate drugs and therapies. Rather, it is the cost and time required to complete research trials and get FDA approval that places significant restrictions on the availability of new treatments to the benefit the public good. TrialSpark uses a “technology-first” approach to capitalize efficiency and substantially shorten the amount of time typically needed to complete a clinical trial. From the patient’s perspective, TrialSpark also seeks to bring potentially life-saving drugs to people willing to enroll in a trial with the hope of speeding the release of that drug to thousands even millions more.
Why it’s innovative?
TrialSpark’s goal appeals to the pharmaceutical company, the doctor, and the patient. They have created a kind of modern-day assembly line for building, running, and completing clinical trials. Their technology-driven model increases the speed of clinical trials by expanding the geographic location of potential patients and connecting them to trials that can greatly impact their future and the future of treatment for their condition. Their algorithms search through de-identified health records to locate areas of the country with patients who match with current clinical trials. When hotspots are located, Trialspark brings the clinical trial to local doctors and their patients.
“Today, clinical trials are the bottleneck to bringing life-saving treatments to patients. Trials are slow, inefficient, and expensive. We believe that we can use technology to accelerate the pace of clinical trials and bridge the gap between medical research and patients who need treatment.”
Fact Sheet and Details
Seed VC $70M
Seed Round $2.3M
News Stories on TrialSpark