Science 37 is a startup that enables remote clinical trials by working with the pharmaceutical, software or device company. The way it works is Science 37 ships the medication or product to the home with a smart tablet. All the clinic visits happen on the smart tablet, and if a nurse is needed, a local nurse is hired to go to the home. If any tests are needed that can’t be done in the home, such as a CT scan or MRI, the patient can go to a local imaging center instead of a fixed clinical trial site.
Late-stage clinical trials are by far the most expensive part of drug development, and they are the hardest to administer. Science 37 is now publicly traded on Nasdaq, but pre-IPO investors include Sanofi, Novartis, and Amgen, all giants in the world of biotech. Sanofi is the world’s 5th largest pharma and Novartis is the world’s 2nd largest pharma, as measured by prescription drug sales.
Clinical trials are another medical service that started shifting into the patient’s home before the pandemic, and this shift has increased dramatically over the past year.
There are a few major problems in the world of clinical trials. First, it is very difficult to find enough patients to fill most clinical trials. Secondly, once the physical clinical trial site or sites are chosen, the potential patient pool is limited to the geographic location around the site(s). Limiting the patient pool to a geographic location can also limit that patient pool to a more genetically homogenous group. Until recently, most clinical trials were conducted using middle aged Caucasian males. Inside of healthcare, we know that some pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and software can work differently for each patient depending on the patient’s age, size, gender, genotype, and genetic expression. There has been a big industry push in recent years to recruit patients who reflect the diversity of the patients intended to use the product after it has cleared the FDA.