Healthcare company BrightInsight just raised $40 million as it builds out a host of digital tools that help drugmakers get experimental treatments and devices through research and over the finish line.
The Series B round was led by venture capital firm Insight Partners with participation from repeat investors New Leaf Venture Partners and Eclipse Ventures. It brings BrightInsight’s total funding to $65 million, according to the company.
The cash will help the company, which spun out of Flex, make hires and invest in technology that helps large drugmakers transition to digital clinical trials faster. Digital clinical trials are carried out away from traditional sites such as clinics and hospitals, and use the internet to monitor participants’ progress, according to the company.
Read more: ‘Virtual’ drug research is becoming a permanent reality as the coronavirus upends clinical trials and fuels a new breed of startups.
The coronavirus pandemic forced hundreds of trials to pause, because it became difficult for patients to show up to hospitals or clinics. Now, pharma and biotech companies are increasingly running them out of people’s homes instead of the traditional venues, Business Insider has reported.
BrightInsight is releasing a new offering designed for that kind of “virtual” research, and the company more broadly acts as a kind of technological host for drug, device, or even software development, CEO and cofounder Dr. Kal Patel told BI. He said it’s similar to how Amazon Web Services is home to Netflix’s databases and videos.
The platform is being used in oncology, obesity, neurology, ophthalmology, diabetes, and other conditions, according to the cofounder. It’s picked up partnerships with AstraZeneca and CSL Behring since coronavirus started, the company said in a statement. Roche and Novo Nordisk were already partners.
“I think we’re seeing a clear tailwind for digital health because people are seeing the value and frankly the need for this,” Patel said. “It’s going from kind of a nice-to-have to being like, gosh, it’s actually a must-have.”https://b8543c3cad54916857ae53057916c9f3.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
From clinical trials to “commercialization,” or when a product is ready to hit the pharmacy shelves, BrightInsight collects data from people, ensures companies are following the rules of the region in question, and even writes the code for apps to use the product later on, he said.
A company might try to use an algorithm to test doses for a long-acting insulin in a clinical trial, for instance. BrightInsight can connect to the device giving patients instructions, monitor its success in stabilizing patients’ blood sugar, and send the data to providers with help from Google Cloud.
Assuming the algorithm works, the company would help shepherd it through approval by health regulators like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and make it available through mobile apps, Patel said.
When asked whether BrightInsight could be used to speed up trials for coronavirus treatments or vaccines, Patel said he’s talking about that possibility with several companies, but declined to name them.
Here’s the pitch deck that helped BrightInsight raise $40 million for its approach to making new drugs more quickly.