TrialSpark, a New York-based biotech unicorn, raised USD 156 million in a Series C round led by tech investors Sam Altman and Lachy Groom on 1 October 2021.
Investors: Tech investors Sam Altman and Lachy Groom led the latest round of funding with participation from new and existing investors, including Sequoia Capital, Thrive Capital, Casdin Capital, Dragoneer, Section 32, John Doerr, Spark Capital, Felicis Ventures, Sound Ventures and Arrowmark.
The Objectives behind the funding: The company plans to deploy the current proceeds to transform into a pharmaceutical company with its own pipeline of drugs either by acquiring or partnering with clinical-stage drugs providers. The remaining funds will be used to expand New York-based team.
Founded in 2013 by Benjamine Liu and Linhao Zhang, TrialSpark has built a clinical trial platform that uses software to help trial sites manage studies and collect data. It integrates the front-end of clinical trials, such as recruitment and electronic consent, with the back-end operations of data management, monitoring, and biostatistics. The startup claims that it can enrol patients nearly twice as fast as traditional approaches and shrink development timelines by 50%. The company partnered with 23andMe in 2019 to use its extensive database and research platform to speed up the patient recruitment process.
What the Founder has to say:
Liu says, “we’ll use these funds to build a pipeline, either by acquiring or partnering on assets. The rest will go toward expanding the New York-based team and investing in other companies with promising candidates.”
What the Investors have to say:
The goal is to build a “tech company that’s doing biopharma, not a biopharma company doing tech. A lot of people complain about the mournful cost of bringing a new drug to market, but TrialSpark is actually doing something about it,” said Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI. “Clinical trials are needlessly complex and expensive, and this directly contributes to the cost of drugs and keeps many promising drugs from ever coming to market. TrialSpark can fix this.”
“When we first met, Benjamine was clear about the journey he wanted to embark upon,” Sequoia Capital’s Michael Moritz said in a statement. “Nothing has changed. TrialSpark has scaled the foothills, and the assault on the summit has begun.”
“Trialspark is building a new type of pharma company that has the potential to dramatically expand patient access to new treatments and align key stakeholders in drug development,” said Kareem Zaki, General Partner at Thrive Capital. “We are excited to be on this consequential and ambitious journey with them.”
The global clinical trials market is projected to hit USD 69.3 billion by 2028, a CAGR of 5.7 per cent. Incorporating technology in biomedical research helps meet stringent regulations by maintaining patient data records that reduce monitoring costs and trial process errors. The COIVD-19 is disrupting the traditional way of conducting clinical trials, and many regulatory agencies such as the U.S. FDA, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and China’s National Medical Products Administration, have allowed the incorporation of virtual services in clinical trials.
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