Telemedicine Platform for Clinical Trials
MedVector’s telemedicine platform helps pharmaceutical companies accelerate clinical trials.
Its proprietary software increases patient access, a key issue plaguing the clinical trial market. In doing so, it generates revenue for doctors and hospitals, reduces costs to clinical trial sponsors, and brings life-changing, advanced medicine to the market more quickly.
MedVector is led by co-founder Dennis Patterson, a hospital management expert with more than 35 years of experience. He was an original founder of Wellspring Partners, a consulting company that helped turn around failing hospitals, and was acquired for $65 million. Key advisors and investors include the former senior counsel to AMGEN, and a former executive vice president for Apple.
Clinical trials are big business. The market currently sits at around $47 billion in the U.S., and is soon projected to reach $104 billion.
In 2017, 4 million subjects were needed for clinical trials. But only 1.8 million were enrolled, creating a 2.2 million patient gap.
Why is this such a big deal? Because a lack of participants in clinical trials means life-saving medications take too long for approval. Here’s why:
Before pharmaceutical companies can sell or market new drugs, they must conduct clinical trials to receive approval from the FDA. But these trials can be painstakingly slow.
While a single patient may take only 6 to 12 months to complete a study, the average length of a full trial is more than 10 years.
Recruiting qualified subjects is hard enough. Many aren’t eligible due to geographic restrictions, HIPAA privacy laws, or socioeconomic limitations. To make matters worse, the 20-year clock on a company’s medical patent starts with the first subject in a clinical trials. This means that every day/month/year lost in the trial is time lost in the patent protection window.
This can translate to massive losses for pharma companies. A medication like Humira, for example, used to treat arthritis, cost pharma companies over $1.6 billion a month during the clinical trial phase.
Drug companies recruit subjects aggressively. But herein lies another problem. These companies try and recruit doctors for access to their patients. However, most doctors aren’t interested in acting as the trial’s Principal Investigator (a physician who oversees the testing process).
Those that do offer up their patients often practice in affluent areas. This means pharma companies can’t test their drugs on a diverse group of patients for more accurate trials.
To fight this imbalance, drug companies hire patient recruitment companies that rely heavily on billboards, Facebook ads, and TV commercials. This type of recruitment requires high patient effort, and often reaches patients that are too far from existing clinical trial sites.
MedVector acts as a solution to these problems.
Essentially, this company connects patients to studies using HIPAA-compliant video conferencing technology — a form of “telemedicine.” Its remote clinical service eliminates geographic barriers, and its plug-and-play kit can be implemented in any hospital, private practice, or surgery center.
Once subject candidates have been identified, MedVector connects them to approval clinical trial sites. Because these subjects use their local doctor’s office or hospital to complete the trials, there are no long commutes. And all tests associated with the study become billable revenue for the hospital or practice.
During the trials, companies can monitor patients remotely, and review each test for efficacy and side effects. (This is typically the job of the Principal Investigator.)
MedVector’s platform is agnostic, and can accommodate the majority of drug trials that fall into the self-administered category. This includes pills, sprays, inhalers, creams, drops, and self-injectable medications. In the future, the company plans to partner with infusion centers to aid in drug trials requiring IV administration, such as chemotherapy.
MedVector’s business model plans to capture multiple sources of revenue. It will have a 35% markup on all medical tests done at subject locations. This will help create recurring revenue since subjects in clinical trials have multiple appointments and follow strict protocols, creating predictable cash flow. Additional revenue will come from success fees, patient sourcing fees, and practice participation fees.
Right now, MedVector reports that the “majority of pieces are in place to launch.” Its launch strategy is broken into three phases:
Phase 1: “Low Hanging Fruit”: Company will work with patient recruitment companies to connect already identified subjects to existing clinical trial sites.
Phase 2: “Knock Knock”: This approach will target specialists and surgeons for access to their patients. This will allow doctors to offer advanced medicine without acting as the Principal Investigator.
Phase 3: “Hospital Network”: Finally, the company will begin using its searchable subject networks to identify more customers.
To date, MedVector has already secured one of the world’s largest clinical trial networks. It’s obtained access to seven hospitals, opening it up to hundreds of thousands of patients per year.
It’s also signed two Letters of Intent, and completed three case studies with Novartis, a pharmaceutical company. During one study, which lasted seven weeks, MedVector’s platform helped the company complete the traditional patient recruitment services that often takes years.
Scott brings extensive financial experience to MedVector.
Prior to starting the company, he was a financial advisor with Wells Fargo. While there, he built a wealth management team, consisting of portfolio managers, private bankers, and financial advisors.
Before that, he was a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley, and started his career as an options trader with D&S Investments.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Arizona.
Dennis is a hospital management expert with 35 years of experience turning around hospitals.
He began his career as Vice President of Vancouver General Hospital. From there, he spent eight years as a partner with Ernst & Young, a professional services company.
After that, he was President of FHP Consulting, a business targeting emerging startups. He then founded Wellspring Partners, a company focused on helping struggling hospitals turn around their operations. Wellspring was acquired in 2007 for around $65 million.
More recently, Dennis was Chairman of the Board at Verras, a healthcare company focused on streamlining clinical trials. He was then Managing Partner with Healthcare Advisors, a management consulting firm.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Elmhurst University, a Master’s degree in Hospital and Health Care Administration from George Washington University, and a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University.