Castor, clinical trials process company, raises $ 45 million to create more human-centric research – TechCrunch



Castor’s mission is to make every clinical trial faster and more patient-focused. The clinical trials software company said on Wednesday it had raised $ 45 million in Series B funding to continue modernizing the process as the industry shifts to decentralized clinical trials.

Eight Roads Ventures and F-Prime Capital co-led the cycle and were joined by existing investors Two Sigma Ventures and Inkef Capital. Series B brings Castor’s total funding to $ 65 million since its inception in 2012.

Clinical trials are “stuck in a rut,” Castor co-founder and CEO Derk Arts, MD, told TechCrunch. Currently, they take a long time to set up and do not involve continuous data monitoring.

They also require participating patients to go to a research site that might be hours away from their homes. As a result, slow recruitment accounts for nearly 40% of completed trials, and an impractical process prevents researchers from attracting a diverse group of patients, he said.

Castor, which is initially remote but has offices in New York and Amsterdam, is one of the many companies bringing technology to a process that is still largely paper-based. Its software provides a self-service version allowing researchers to design studies and integrate patient data in person and remotely from any source in real time. Patients interested in participating in trials can register and share their data through a mobile app.

The global pandemic has driven innovation forward at an accelerating pace, and Castor has responded in turn, making its software free for COVID-19 research.

He then saw an influx of users and new customers like the World Health Organization. WHO used Castor for its “solidarity trial,” which identified how existing drugs might improve outcomes compared to standard care alone. The study included more than 10,000 patients at 553 sites in 30 countries, Arts said.

Michael Treskow, partner at Eight Roads Ventures, called Arts a “rock-solid shooter” who knows the industry’s weak spots and brings the clinical trial industry into the modern era.

“Technology is having a real impact,” Treskow added. “Castor is so committed to dramatically improving clinical trials, and with his work with WHO, he has a significant use case of the importance of this. As we have seen with the rapid development of COVID vaccines, this is what the industry is capable of doing. “

The clinical trials market is valued at around $ 16 billion and is growing rapidly at 16% per year, according to Arts. Such a large market also attracts companies that want to innovate it. He cites Science 37 and Medable, which recently extended its $ 91 million Series C by $ 78 million.

The B Series allows Castor to have teams in place to respond to the fast-growing industry. Last year, the company nearly tripled its revenue growth and is on track to do the same in 2021. Castor currently has 150 employees and plans to reach 200 by the end of the year. year.

Arts, who has a background in software programming and medicine, said the new funds would go towards continued product development, interoperability and real-world evidence collection from decentralized trials. The company is currently focusing on the United States, but sees potential in the Asian region later this year.

“Patients deserve exceptional service, and it’s up to us to make it happen,” he said.



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