Lightship lures in $40M, Slope snags $20M for virtual, decentralized clinical trials

Developing drugs can be a billion-dollar effort, and shifting clinical trials to a remote setting is shaping up to be a capital-intensive transformation, too. Now, there's another $60 million flowing into the space. 

Lightship and Slope are the latest virtual trial startups to snag heaps of cash to bring human studies out of the clinic and into the home. Venture investors are pumping $40 million into Lightship and $20 million into Slope to fuel virtual and decentralized trials. 

The two California startups join the laundry list of such providers including Medable, Science 37, ObvioHealth, Reify Health, Castor and others. That's not to mention the $8.5 billion EQT and Goldman Sachs are funneling into longtime CRO player Parexel as it evolves in the remote trials field amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

And Lightship isn't new to the arena: In February 2020, the company raised $20 million right before the pandemic hit the U.S. 

RELATED: Reify Health scores $220M series C to speed up trial recruitment, enrollment

Lightship will use the funds to expand into the U.K. with an office in London, build out its biopharma customer base and boost its leadership team. Robert Jones becomes chief financial officer after 14 years with Goldman Sachs.

Slope will deepen its presence in direct-to-patient trials with the proceeds. The startup's software is being used in 660 clinical research sites, the company said. Slope also has a fulfillment center in Richmond, Virginia, that makes smart lab kits to manage inventory, automate the resupply of lab kits and more.