Entrepreneur mushes clinical trials toward starting line
Anyone who has worked in product development in pharma knows that the process, from discovery through manufacturing and commercialization, is riddled with inefficiencies. A select number of people will try to fix problems, and fewer still will come up with a tractable solution. Jae Chung fits within the latter camp.
Through his eClinical startup, goBalto, Chung wants to change the way CROs and pharma companies initiate clinical trials. The process of getting a new clinical trial off the ground calls for a lot of coordination, documentation and multiple steps. Some companies field teams dedicated to such trial startups, using homegrown spreadsheets to keep track of everything.
You don't need to have a programming or biology background to score techie cred in biotech. Chung, a business development pro and accountant by training, has used his skills to nail down deals with INC Research and other top CROs for the company's web-based software called Tracker. The online tool automates, and strives to shave weeks off, the study startup process.
He's inspired venture investors such as Qualcomm Life Fund and EDBI to help him raise $21 million to back development and commercialization of his company's technology.
And Tracker isn't even the product Chung started out with at goBalto, which he founded in 2008 to roll out a LinkedIn-like directory for pharma service providers. (He launched the startup after co-founding the South Korea-based contract biologics maker Celltrion, where he also directed business development.) That first product generated great reviews, but study investigators and others in the directory provided feedback to Chung and his team that what they really wanted was something to aid study startups, he says, and that eventually led to the creation of Tracker.
Chung's decision to focus the startup's finite resources on Tracker appears to be paying off, as he plans to announce more big deals with CROs and pharma sponsors throughout the year.
GoBalto wants to save Big Pharma from bungling one big thing
Qualcomm backs clinical trials software outfit in $12M round
GoBalto rakes in $12M for cloud-based clinical development