BMS taps Arch-backed startup to change cancer trial Paradigm, accelerate enrollment

Bristol Myers Squibb is putting Paradigm’s plans to rebuild the clinical trial system to the test, teaming up with the startup to design studies that can activate community health provider organizations as sites.

New York-based Paradigm, which was conceived and incubated by Arch Venture Partners, broke cover at the start of the year, making a splashy entrance with $203 million in funding and plans to rebuild the clinical trial system. As Paradigm sees things, the current system is broken in ways that limit patient access to investigational therapies, slow drug development and burden study sites.  

Paradigm’s solution? A platform designed to reduce the operational burdens of trials and thereby enable more physicians and healthcare provider organizations to participate. Bringing trials to community sites could expand and diversify the pool of potential participants, accelerating enrollment in the process. 

Friday, BMS became Paradigm’s first publicly disclosed customer. The companies will work to design trials that “meet the practical constraints of community health provider organizations,” sites that provide most of the care for patients with cancer and other severe conditions but have been partly shut out of studies. Paradigm has worked with “dozens” of the organizations over the past year to help them support trials.

Starting in oncology, Paradigm will work with BMS to help it recruit more patients at such sites, a shift that could accelerate enrollment and provide study populations that are more representative of overall demographics in the U.S. 

“Working with a leader like Bristol Myers Squibb helps scale equitable access for patients today,” Paradigm CEO Kent Thoelke said in the release. “In the process, we aim to help Bristol Myers Squibb speed up recruitment, attract a more diverse patient population, reduce provider burden, and more rapidly complete trials to increase access to potentially helpful therapies in the future”

Thoelke, who previously held C-suite positions at the CROs Icon and PRA Health Sciences, heads up a team with deep experience of clinical trial operations and technologies. Other members of Paradigm’s C-suite have held leadership positions at companies such as Flatiron Health, Science 37 and Syapse, and the board of directors includes Arch’s Robert Nelsen and former Merck & Co. CEO Kenneth Frazier.