RDMD secures $3 Million in seed funding, aims to accelerate drug development for rare diseases
San Francisco-based RDMD, a healthcare technology startup dedicated to accelerating research for patients with rare diseases, announced on August 20 that it has raised $3 million in seed funding. The financing was led by Lux Capital, with participation from Village Global, First Round’s Healthcare Co-Op, Garuda, Shasta Ventures and several angel investors from the biotech and healthtech industry. RDMD has developed a technology platform that generates deep data insights to accelerate rare disease research and drug development, as well as a patient application that empowers patients and families to get access to and benefit from their own medical data.
“RDMD was born out of my own personal journey with a rare disease called neurofibromatosis type 2, a disease that affects only 1 in 30,000 people. I’ve been developing technology products my entire life, and I wondered if we could marry a powerful data and analytics platform with patient data to gain insights into rare diseases,” said Onno Faber, RDMD founder, chairman and head of product. “That idea turned into reality with the founding of RDMD. We have since pioneered the development of a powerful platform that leverages deep data insights to empower rare disease research and drug development, as well as an application that allows patients to take the management of their disease into their own hands. This financing enables us to expand our efforts and tailor our approach for the needs of any rare condition, providing real value for both patients and drug developers.”
Proceeds of the financing will be used to further develop the company’s platform, expand the leadership team to support demand and growth, generate high quality data, expand into new rare conditions, and work with partners to advance their research and development programs.
“There are over 7,000 rare diseases, affecting 1 in 10 people, yet less than five percent of them have an FDA-approved therapy. Collectively, it’s a massive problem,” said Adam Goulburn, Ph.D., general partner of Lux Capital. “Unlike the more well-resourced conditions like cancer and diabetes, rare diseases suffer from a lack of data infrastructure. As a result, many programs fail to even get off the ground. RDMD represents a central place dedicated specifically to the problems in rare disease, where we aim to create fertile ground for therapeutic programs.”
Curation of Real World Data for Rare Disease Research
RDMD aims to partner with rare disease biopharmaceutical companies to provide deep clinical electronic health record (EHR) data from patients, rare disease doctors, and foundations. The company’s proprietary database of research-and-regulatory-grade evidence can be leveraged to gain insights on natural history, endpoint selection and evidence generation for regulatory submissions.
RDMD’s technology platform transforms unstructured data from medical records into disease-specific data models that can be readily analyzed. Most data from medical records are currently unusable for research because they are trapped in physician notes and progress reports that cannot be easily mined. RDMD works with top research doctors in each condition to define the relevant data measures and biomarkers to collect in order to generate the most relevant insights for clinical development. RDMD’s technology enables audit-trails and links to original source documents to ensure compliance and quality control.
RDMD is currently collaborating with researchers at the National Cancer Institute to track pain symptoms in people with a type of neurofibromatosis called NF1. The company has also partnered with the Children’s Tumor Foundation to generate real world evidence from NF patient medical records across all forms of neurofibromatosis, including NF1, NF2 and schwannomatosis. RDMD plans to expand into rare neurological and inherited metabolic diseases.
“As our programs advance into clinical stage, we have a greater need for robust evidence that can be used to inform and support these programs,” said Annette Bakker, Ph.D., president of the Children’s Tumor Foundation. “We’re excited to partner with Onno and RDMD to move to a truly patient-centric approach to drug research and development.”
A Disease-Specific Platform for Patients
RDMD has also created an application that offers patients the ability to view and control their complete medical records. With patient authorization, RDMD will retrieve medical records on a patient’s behalf, and keep this information updated over time. RDMD displays patients’ records in a disease-specific timeline with summaries of their medical data. Patients fully own their data, control whether to contribute their de-identified data to research, and can delete their account at any time.
RDMD’s first application, which is focused on neurofibromatosis, has allowed patients to share their private records with new facilities they visit, and seek remote consults from experts in their condition. Patients have also provided informed consent to RDMD to share relevant biomarkers, endpoints and measures with researchers such as biopharmaceutical partners, academic researchers and nonprofits working in the condition.
“To date, we have enrolled more than 150 patients with neurofibromatosis to use our application. Patients have already been able to connect with or get second opinions from top doctors from across the country, coordinate ongoing care and contribute their de-identified data to research their condition,” said Nancy Yu, chief executive officer of RDMD. “It normally takes millions of dollars over several years to gather this type of data in rare diseases. For the first time, we have a centralized and consented set of data for use in translational research, for a fraction of the time and cost.”
Founding Team and Board of Directors
RDMD’s founders include:
Onno Faber, RDMD founder, chairman and head of product; NF2 patient; and former CEO of TapTalk, a video messaging platform
Nancy Yu, RDMD co-founder and chief executive officer; former head of corporate development at 23andMe; and former biotechnology investment banker
RDMD’s board of directors includes Nancy Yu, Onno Faber and investor Adam Goulburn. In conjunction with the financing, Renata Quintini, partner of Lux Capital, joins as a board observer.