Data Will Transform Clinical Trials And Patient Care: Verana Health Is Leading The Charge

Yumin Choi
Feb 5, 2020 · 4 min read

Bringing a new drug to market is a multibillion-dollar endeavor. A report by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development estimates that it costs drugmakers roughly $2.6 billion to bring a single new drug to market. Additionally, Tufts estimates that $312 million is spent on post-approval research and development, bringing the total cost per approved drug up to $2.8 billion.

Much of this money is spent on a series of clinical research studies. During each study, physical research sites (think cancer centers, hospitals, and clinics) enroll patients to participate. These patients range from perfectly healthy to terminally ill. Sometimes, clinical trials save the lives of participants. In other instances, clinical trials prolong participants’ lives, or help save the lives of future patients with the same illnesses. No matter the outcome, it seems like it should be easy to tell patients about the clinical trials for which they’re eligible and give them the option to enroll. Right? Wrong. Enrolling patients in clinical trials is really, really hard.

As of January 30, 2020, there were more than 320,000 clinical studies registered on clinicaltrials.gov, up from 180,000 in 2015 and just 12,000 in 2005. More than 50,000 of the active trials listed at clinicaltrials.gov are recruiting participants today. Yet less than 0.002 percent of the global population and just 1 percent of the U.S. population participates in clinical trials. Roughly 80 percent of clinical trials fail to meet participant recruitment timelines, and one-third of terminated Phase III clinical studies are terminated due to enrollment challenges.

Why is it so hard to find and recruit drug trial participants? A big part of the problem comes down to data. Drugmakers today don’t have broad access to patient data. They know how many patients are out there with a given disease, but they don’t know where to find them. They don’t know which of those patients with a given disease are eligible for a given trial, and which would benefit most. Once their drugs are on the market, they don’t know which patients respond best or what additional populations the drug might be useful for.

Verana Health has proprietary access to clinical data in multiple specialties.

Verana Health is a technology company assembling the largest clinical databases in medicine to help physicians and life science companies derive clinical and business insights. Bain Capital Ventures recently announced an investment into Verana’s Series D round as we’re convinced the company, run by a team of seasoned technology and medical experts, can help drugmakers solve their data challenges.

Verana has secured exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, commercial rights to electronic medical record data through multiple medical society partnerships. This means that Verana has 80 percent of all ophthalmology EHR data in the United States, and similar datasets in multiple other specialties. Using this data, Verana is providing leading drugmakers with real-world insights on drug performance that informs pricing, label expansion, and reimbursement. Additionally, Verana is helping match relevant patients with ongoing clinical trials, improving trial success and speed. Over time, Verana hopes to use its real-world patient data as control groups in clinical trials, eliminating the need for patients enrolled in clinical studies to take placebo drugs. Societies, patients, and drugmakers all benefit.

Verana has assembled a team of leaders in real-world data.

As we got to know Verana CEO Miki Kapoor and his team, we quickly realized they were special, not just in terms of their vision to change clinical trials to improve patient outcomes, but also their deep combined expertise in medical data analysis. The company has recruited leading data scientists and architects with extensive experience handling clinical patient data for drug development.

Miki joined Verana in 2018 from Tea Leaves, where he led the company as CEO and helped grow its customer base to include 30 percent of the top health systems and more than 400 customers. Prior to Tea Leaves, Miki was president of Everyday Health, a publicly-traded patient data and consumer healthcare company with $200 million in annual revenue, and previously was a senior leader at IMS Health. Verana’s broader leadership team comes from Flatiron, IQVIA, Medidata, Oracle, Genentech, and other leading data and biotech companies. Bain Capital Ventures could not be more excited to partner with the entire Verana team to help support their vision for a data-driven clinical trial future.

Going forward, Verana plans to integrate additional data sources.

Verana also recently announced the acquisition of PYA Analytics (PYAA), a Knoxville, Tennessee-based company that specializes in data architecture solutions. With PYAA, Verana will not only ingest electronic medical record data more easily, but will also be able to link that data with medical images, claims data, and genomic data. For drugmakers, this means Verana will provide a more comprehensive picture of each patient and help them gain an even deeper understanding of how patients respond to therapies and how to best match them with clinical trials. The acquisition of PYAA further solidifies Verana as the leader in the data analysis market for drug development.

We are thrilled to partner with the Verana Health team and an outstanding group of co-investors — including GV, Casdin Capital, and Define Ventures — as Verana’s team of accomplished data scientists and life sciences experts continue their quest to transform medical research.

Ideas from Bain Capital Ventures

Ideas and perspectives from the Bain Capital Ventures team.

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