Clinical trial matching platform raises $11M backed by Merck’s tech fund

Many health tech firms are developing ways to help clinical trials recruit patients. Antidote, as one of them, just recently raised $11 million in a financing round led by Merck Global Health Innovation (GHI) Fund.

The company’s clinical trial matching platform, called Match, applies clinical expertise and artificial intelligence to help patients find the right research in which to participate.

To reach all those patients who could potentially become trial participants, Antidote has partnered with more than 180 leading patient communities such as type 1 diabetes foundation JDRF, the National Kidney Foundation and the Lung Cancer Alliance. These members could embed Antidote’s search engine for free on their websites, thus enabling their visitors—who are usually patients actively in search for new treatments and health information—to discover and connect to researchers.

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Those who are interested in participating in a clinical study answer simple questions such as the condition on which they wish to participate in a trial, their age and general health that might disqualify them from studies, until the platform returns with matching studies in their desired region.

Insights the platform gathers could prove useful for drug companies, and through a web and mobile app layer, Antidote has made the platform available to pharma companies so that they can match patients to their programs. Besides, it is also piloting a SaaS that turns the table around to allow research sites to invite engaged patients to participate in their studies.

Leveraging emerging digital tools to glean existing health data in innovative ways that help improve health outcomes and lower costs is exactly what Merck GHI is focusing on. In that sense, Francesca Wuttke, the Merck fund’s managing director, said that “the Antidote approach fits well with” its mission.

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Antidote says the system has helped patient recruitment for 14,000 clinical trials. The plan is quite ambitious: to cover all U.S. trials next year.

Now, with the new funding, which brings the total investment Antidote has received to $26 million, the company plans to enhance its capabilities with such features as precision medicine and electronic health record-matching, as well as to expand its footprint globally. Currently headquartered in New York, the company also has offices in London and Indiana. As part of the Cancer Moonshot project, the company will also match cancer patients with specific mutations to pertinent studies.

Existing investors Smedvig Capital and Octopus Ventures also participated in the round.