Immuno-oncology upstart Forty Seven has tapped Medidata ($MDSO) for technology as it gears up to move into the clinic. The deal will see Forty Seven, a Stanford University spinout with big-name, deep-pocketed backers, use Medidata Rave to capture and manage data in two upcoming early-stage clinical trials.
Forty Seven established itself as a biotech to watch in February when it unveiled $75 million in Series A funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, Clarus Ventures and GV, the VC shop formerly known as Google Ventures. The funding positioned Forty Seven to develop a program based on research by Irv Weissman and his colleagues, who have spent the past seven years looking at the CD47 pathway.
Fuelled by the $75 million, Forty Seven is now nearing the start of its clinical trial activities. And, with this in mind, the startup has become the latest cancer drug developer to turn to Medidata for support. When Forty Seven moves its lead candidate, the CD47-targeting monoclonal antibody Hu5F9-G4, into the clinic, it will make use of Medidata Rave to capture, manage and report data generated in the study.
“Essentially they're going to be running their next phase study using our EDC platform,” Medidata COO Mike Capone told FierceBiotechIT. “There's actually two studies ... starting in September and October of this year.”
Compared to the deals Medidata has struck with Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and Celgene ($CELG) over the past year, the Forty Seven contract is small. But it is indicative of the ability of Medidata to continue picking up biotech clients while landing enterprise deals with top 25 pharma companies.
As Capone sees it, the size of a client is a minor factor in how Medidata approaches a relationship. “Whether it's large or small, [the size of] the customer doesn't necessarily matter,” he said.
What does matter is whether Medidata’s platform meets the needs of the customer. And in oncology R&D, a field with some unique pressures, Capone thinks Medidata is well equipped in this regard. “We really feel like we have a huge advantage when it comes to oncology trials,” Capone said.
The confidence is backed up by a glance at Medidata’s list of clients, which includes Bristol-Myers, Cancer Research UK, National Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering. Capone thinks these A-list cancer customers were attracted to Rave, in part, because it supports mid-study analyses, a feature that enables them to correct the course of a trial as needed.
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