Clinical trials access startup HealthMatch has raised $10 million in Series C.
The round was led by the company’s original backer, Folklore Ventures. Paul Bassat’s Square Peg Capital led an $18 million Series B in the Sydney-based startup in December 2020, also invested in the Series C. Square Peg also led a $6 million series A in late 2019. Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull are among the previous investors in HealthMatch, which uses machine learning to automate clinical trials for contract research companies.
The medtech startup has grown its patient base 10x since the previous raise, with more than 1 million patients globally now using the platform, which is like a Tinder for medical trials where patients can create profiles, search, match and be placed into clinical trials in more than 300 condition areas.
Founder and CEO Manuri Gunawardena launched HealthMatch in 2017 as a final year University of Sydney medical student. Since then more than 35,000 patients have been accepted into trials by leading research institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Stanford and Mayo Clinic in the US and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Peter Mac & Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre in Australia.
Having laid off half the team in June, Gunawardena said she was delighted to secure the Series C capital and will use it to increase staffing once again as well as expand the platform across the United States
“In spite of our success to date, the changing capital markets meant HealthMatch needed to adjust its approach to scale and make some difficult restructuring decisions earlier this year,” she said.
“Today marks an exciting milestone as we continue improving access to critical care, and I am grateful to Folklore Ventures, our investors, as well as our dedicated team who share our vision of redefining the future of medicine.”
Gunawardena said the ability to access a clinical trial as a patient can be a life-saving opportunity, particularly if no standard treatment exists.
“There is nothing more motivating than hearing the stories of patients that have found a clinical trial through HealthMatch, particularly those that didn’t know of the possibility of taking part prior to coming across our platform,” she said.
“With over 1 million patients now taking advantage of HealthMatch’s ability to streamline the process of finding and accessing clinical trials, we are seeing a real impact on many patients’ lives with not only how they access some of the latest and best health innovations but also the impact we can have on new treatments reaching market.”
Folklore Ventures Managing Partner Alister Coleman said the Sydney VC had now backed all four raises, from Seed to Series C.
“In the space of just a few years, HealthMatch has proved the significance of its global mission, showing the world that a patient-centric approach to solving a fundamental problem in life sciences R&D can be valuable for both patients and clinicians,” he said.
“We are just as committed to Manuri’s vision as we were on day one, and we believe HealthMatch will continue to establish new frontiers for patient engagement, improved clinical trials operations, and ultimately a brighter future for medicine development.”
HealthMatch launched in the US in October 2021, and now averages new user registrations at 100,000 patients per a month.
Gunawardena said HealthMatch is increasingly working with pharmaceutical companies beyond trial recruitment, leveraging the insights from 32 million de-identified and aggregated patient medical questions to help the industry better understand how to design trials and choose where they run them through to ultimately deliver better treatments for patients, faster.
The startup has worked with global pharmaceutical giants including Roche, AbbVie & Boehringer Ingelheim as well as up-and-coming biotech innovators like Imugene & Earli.
“We have great healthcare in Australia, where access to leading healthcare providers and medicines is publicly available through medicare. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the US and we have seen strong interest in accessing trials, particularly from underserved and diverse communities that aren’t adequately resourced,” she said.
There is significant industry demand for solutions that address the efficiency of clinical trials and derisk the process of bringing new drugs to market, with 80% of clinical trials delayed or abandoned globally due to poor recruitment- a problem that has plagued the industry and costs tens of billions annually.”