N-Power Medicine raises Series B funding, partners with Merck

Steven Loeb · July 1, 2024 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/58d1

Merck's pipeline of clinical trials will be deployed in N-Power’s network sites

Only 5% of cancer patients enroll in oncology clinical trials today because the majority of oncologists don’t participate in clinical research, especially in the community setting, where 85% of cancer patients receive their care.

The root cause of this is a system where clinical research simply can’t fit into most oncologists’ practices, Mark Lee, M.D., Ph.D, CEO and co-founder of N-Power Medicine, a clinical research and drug development platform company looking to boost clinical trial participation to accelerate oncology drug development.

On Monday, N-Power announced the initial close of its Series B funding round, led by Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, with participation by a US-based healthcare focused investor. This new found brings its total funding to date to $72 Million.

"Today, clinical research is a completely separate enterprise above and beyond routine patient care, requiring different data, staff, and infrastructure. On top of the overwhelming work of routine patient care, especially EHR documentation, the added time and investment required for clinical research makes no sense for the vast majority of oncologists," said Lee.

"After decades of trying, it’s clear that point solutions, for example AI models for trial matching, trial management app, and EHR tweaks, will not work. What’s needed is a radical, holistic approach addressing the doctor’s overall workflow and practice challenges, not only for trial patients but especially for routine care patients too."

Founded in 2021, N-Power’s platform, which integrates clinical research and routine care into a single workflow, includes The Kaleido Registry, a collection of prospective, real-time, standardized patient data designed to support clinical trials and drug development. To date, over 7,000 patients have consented and enrolled in the registry. 

In addition, the company's on-site and virtual experts support oncologists and research staff to operationalize the Registry and support clinical documentation. It partners with each oncologist to embed trained tech/AI-enabled personnel, along with the Kaleido Registry, to support data collection, clinical documentation and operations for every patient in their practice.

N-Power's customers are biopharma companies that want to accelerate development timelines, enroll diverse and representative patients into their trials, and access fit-for-purpose data from the standard-of-care to guide drug development decision-making. 

It initial use cases are focused on include faster and more predictable trial enrollment through systematic, unbiased patient pre-screening; insights into the enrollment funnel, focusing on the factors that limit patient participation; and prospective Registry sub-studies in selected patient cohorts of interest with novel data collection to inform study design and development plans.

"In the near term, we anticipate providing our biopharma customers ROI through decreased costs associated with non-productive sites, as 40% to 60% of sites never enroll at all, and delays in site activation and overall trial timelines. Second, real-time enrollment funnel insights to optimize enrollment across all sites for a trial," said Lee.

"Third, access to data and diverse patients from the community to meet FDA’s guidances. Longer term, ROI will come in the form of faster R&D timelines and decreased portfolio risk."

N-Power is currently partnered with four community oncology practices that together bring 48 oncologists on staff. By the end of the year, the company expects to have six to eight oncology clinics in its network and have access to over 100 oncologists.

Partnership with Merck

In addition to the funding round, the company also announced a new partnership with Merck to expand oncologist and patient access to clinical trials. Through this collaboration, Merck's pipeline of clinical trials will be deployed in N-Power’s network sites; the first two trials have already been initiated.

The N-Power platform will be configured to pre-screen all patients in the practices to accurately identify every potentially eligible patient. In addition, N-Power’s platform ensures that patients are being identified at the right time, in the very narrow time window, meaning days or, at most, a week, when cancer patients and their doctors must make decisions about the next treatment.

In addition, N-Power will capture the necessary data and insights of the enrollment funnel to understand the factors that limit patient participation.

"Merck is the pre-eminent Pharma in oncology, with an enormous pipeline of development programs which can leverage the N-Power model. Moreover, together we share a common vision  – to truly accelerate transformative medicines to patients, we need to move away from point solutions and instead focus on innovative, comprehensive solutions that can revolutionize clinical research at an ecosystem level," Lee explained.           

"Inefficiencies in conducting clinical trials are a huge bottleneck for most biopharma companies working to bring innovative new therapies to cancer patients. The partnership with N-Power enables Merck to leverage and foster a new model that will expand access to clinical research to an enormous new population of oncologists and cancer patients."

N-Power's ultimate goal is to enable clinical research to be a part of every oncologist’s practice and an integral part of every cancer patient’s care; in doing so, the company "will dramatically reduce the time it takes to bring new innovative therapies and technologies to patients," said Lee.

"The partnership with Merck will validate our approach by accelerating their exciting pipeline of therapies to cancer patients and build momentum for expansion of the model to more centers, oncologists, and patients."

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