The United States National Library of Medicine maintains a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies around the world. There are currently 1,867 trials actively recruiting or enrolling participants by invitation in Los Angeles. According to research, almost 50 percent of those trials will end up with only one participant, or none at all.
That’s due in part to the current process used to recruit participants, which leans heavily on online registries, word of mouth from doctors and nurses, and patients who actively search for trials on their own time. When trials fail to hit their recruitment goals, the entire drug discovery process is slowed down considerably, which means patients have to wait longer to access new treatments and medication.
Deep 6 AI — one of our 2019 Built In LA 50 Startups to Watch — thinks artificial intelligence is the answer to this problem. The Pasadena-based startup has raised a $17 million Series A to grow its footprint and team.
We see clinical trials recruiting as a place where a data and AI-driven approach holds tremendous promise in accelerating life-saving research.”
The round was led by Point72 Ventures and featured participation from GSR Ventures, among others, and brings the company’s funding total to $22 million.
“We are very excited to partner with Point72 Ventures to pursue our vision to build the leading global clinical trials acceleration software platform,” said CEO Wout Brusselaers in a press release. “Their investment will allow us to rapidly scale up to meet the high demand for our software.”
The company’s natural language processing technology scans health records and identifies patients who may be a fit for trials. In addition, its technology can also make inferences that aim to expand the potential patient pool by highlighting individuals whose conditions or symptoms may not have been recorded. Bill McKeon, the CEO of Texas Medical Center, told Forbes that Deep 6’s software found 80 potential matches for a study in minutes, compared to the six months it took to find 12 matches manually.
“We see clinical trials recruiting as a place where a data and AI-driven approach holds tremendous promise in accelerating life-saving research,” said Point72 Ventures partner Daniel Gwak, who has joined the company’s board.
Deep 6 doesn’t actually have access to medical records. Rather, its software is licensed by health centers, with the company’s marketplace connecting them to medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies. Brusselaers told Forbes that the company has around 20 customers, which are a mix of health centers, research organizations and medical device companies.
In addition to accelerating its sales efforts, Deep 6 said it will use its $17 million Series A to grow its tech team. The company currently has a headcount of 42 and has several open tech roles, including a data engineer, data scientist and head of product.