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Clinical trials are one of the most important parts of the healthcare process. Not only are they used to discover potential new treatments for diseases, they can also help in finding ways to detect and diagnose those diseases. Clinical trials are critical for researchers to figure out what does, and what does not, actually work.
The problem is that many trials are still done manually, with outdated technology. That is where SignalPath, a company that wants to reimagine how clinical trials are executed, comes in.
SignalPath started due to the experiences of Dr. Brad Hirsch, the company's co-founder and CEO, as well as co-founder Kevin Monroe, when they both worked at Duke University and Hirsch was a clinical trialist on the faculty.
"There was a clear need for a next generation platform to facilitate the execution of clinical trials at sites because of inherent inefficiencies with manual processes, changes in the complexity of research, new regulations, and integration of new technologies at the point of care," Hirsch told VatorNews.
"Furthermore, sites need more than a point solution for a specific trial. This led to the formation of SignalPath in late 2014 and has been our passionate focus ever since."
On Tuesday, the company announced that it closed an $18 million Series B funding round from "existing investors," bringing its total capital to date to $35 million.
SignalPath's original focus was to be a Clinical Trial Management System (CTMS), where it addressed pain points that existed in study design, trial startup and study oversight for site management organizations. It has since branched out, however, and is now looking to reimagine the way trials themselves are done.
The SignalPath platform is designed to be used at the point of care, enabling clinical research teams to focus on their patients while achieving their research goals, said Hirsch.
"The system further empowers large organizations to optimize research management through workflow, dashboard and analytic tools. Our mission is to dramatically improve the ease, efficiency, and profitability of trial execution," he explained.
So far, SignalPath has put its focus on clinics, health systems and academic centers. Its primary users are clinical research coordinator, regulatory, finance and management teams, helping them to "drive efficiency so that teams can support more trials with the same workforce; profitability through optimized budgeting and revenue capture; compliance through greater visibility into what needs to occur on a day by day basis; and sanity since teams focus on what matters, their patients."
"By extension of our partnerships, patients benefit by having more trials available to them at the centers in which they receive their care."
Right now, the company has over 250 clinical research sites who have signed on to use the platform, with over 2,500 active trials. SignalPath expects to double that to 5,000 active trials by early next year.
While Hirsch sees other CTMS products as SignalPath's main competitors, he also believes that the company has "evolved well beyond the competition in the space." One of SignalPath's key differentiators, he said, is that the company has spent the last five years developing a product "that facilitates the execution of trials by meeting the core needs of sites."
"Instead of trying to find ways around the present framework for clinical trial execution we instead dove in with both feet and have supported their needs and growth. Our next iteration is to partner with our sites to support novel trials which take the burden off of our partners by supporting a growing virtual trial infrastructure but still keeping research teams at the core of the endeavor. We believe the hybrid trial approach is the trial of the future and that we are incredibly uniquely positioned to facilitate it at this juncture," he told me.
The new funding will be used to, in part, to help grow SignalPath's research teams, and to build out its product.
"There are two core areas of focus for this funding. The first is to continue to augment our team that supports our network of sites. As we are in a hypergrowth phase, it ensures that we will continue to exceed the expectations of our customers in terms of our product and our team," said Hirsch.
"The second is that it enables us to support a growing research team whose goal it is to bring novel trials to our network as outlined subsequently."
Ultimately, the goal for SignalPath is to change the way that research is conducted.
"We are well down the path to success by empowering our site partners to facilitate high quality, profitable research and have fun in the process. The goal and dream is broader, enabling an entire network that can conduct a truly different kind of trial that is better for patients and researchers, while generating deeper data sets and insights that exist today."
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