Fresh Capital Used to Build on Trial Library's Mission to Improve Health Equity by Expanding Access to Cancer Precision Medicine
Spearheaded by Dr. Hala Borno, Leading UCSF oncologist and Health Equity Researcher
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Trial Library, Inc., an oncology clinical trials company, today announced it has come out of stealth mode and received its first funding to address the need for equity in patient recruitment to oncology clinical trials. The $5 million seed round was led by Deena Shakir, Partner at Lux Capital, with participation from Julian Eison, Managing Partner at NEXT VENTŪRES, Unseen Capital, as well as other notable angel investors. This investment supports the growing need for more inclusivity in oncology clinical trials, and will expand the usage of the Trial Library platform among community oncologists who are patients' trusted sources for advice on clinical trials.
After a decade of researching inequities in clinical trials with a team of veteran researchers and best-in-class physicians in cancer digital health, Trial Library CEO and founder Dr. Hala Borno, a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) oncologist and experienced health equity researcher, introduced a new, tech-enabled approach that prioritizes the need for diverse and underrepresented patient groups. While advancements in personalized oncology therapeutics continue to produce astounding results, not all patients are afforded the opportunity to receive the latest therapies available. Along with co-founder and Chief Product Officer Steve Buck, former vice president and general manager at Ro Pharmacy and an accomplished healthcare entrepreneur who co-founded cancersurvivalrates.com and RxDividends (a company sold to GoodRx that he joined as a co-founder), the two have built Trial Library's virtual care navigation platform with 24/7 delivery. As a result, patients who decide to participate in a clinical trial will be supported throughout their journey to a clinical trial site.
"The lack of equity in access is a huge barrier that needs to be solved," said Trial Library CEO and founder Dr. Hala Borno. "As a society, we've invested so much into exciting new biotech therapies and we're optimistic that many of these personalized treatments will extend patients' lives. However, there are still many obstacles that exist, and we aim to combat the barriers experienced by all participants in our research ecosystem - the patients, providers and researchers."
"The flow of a more diverse set of patients in trials is an important and measurable outcome that will only come if community oncologists are motivated to participate," said co-founder and Chief Product Officer Steve Buck. "About half of all patients undergoing treatment for cancer rely upon a community oncologist for advice on next steps. If these clinicians are not actively exploring nearby trial opportunities, there's little chance a patient will find out about a trial or go to one on their own. We need to promote engagement with community providers through a combination of better technology and reimbursement opportunities. Trial Library will be the go to for community providers that have been overlooked to date."
Research indicates that 90% of patients and physicians do not participate in oncology clinical trials.1 Trial inclusion and exclusion criteria have become more complex for oncology practices attempting to screen for eligible patients. As a result, participation in trials, especially among community oncology practices, has fallen far down on the list of priorities for oncologists treating patients. A net outcome is that racial and ethnic minorities and women are far less likely to be offered and recruited into clinical trials compared to non-Hispanic white men.2
"There is a renewed need and desire from the major stakeholders in healthcare to start facilitating more inclusive clinical trials, especially as it relates to cancer precision medicine, in order to achieve broader health equity goals," said Deena Shakir, Partner at Lux Capital. "Trial Library's deep understanding of this complex space has enabled them to align on incentives and stakeholders, and build a platform that patients, providers and researchers can trust. For years, Dr. Borno has been my go-to diligence call for all things precision medicine, and I couldn't be more excited to back her and Steve in their effort to take this vision to market."
"Growing up, many of my family members lost hard-fought battles to cancer. It brings joy to my heart to know that we can look to technology, community support, and research to be our superpowers in defeating health inequities and improving clinical outcomes," said Julian Eison, Managing Partner at NEXT VENTŪRES. "We fundamentally believe that Trial Library's strategy of enabling physicians to provide contextually relevant awareness and enrollment pathways is novel and promising. It's been an honor to partner with Dr. Borno and Steve, as their combined experiences represent hope and promise in an industry chock-full of competition."
"The lack of representation in clinical trials has had significant ramifications on the design and outcome of oncology treatments," said Dr. Ivor Horn, an advisor toUnseen Capital. "Trial Library has an incredible potential to tackle the systemic barriers underrepresented individuals face in accessing clinicals trials."
How it Works
Trial Library aims to solve the lack of equity in clinical trial participation in two ways. Initially, Trial Library targets the "first mile" problem by providing fair reimbursement to local, community oncology practices who today are offered little, if any, reimbursement for pre-screening and managing patient referrals to trials. The company reimburses community oncology practices for its time and effort of screening patients for nearby trials. Oncology practices can use the Trial Library website to discover paid pre-screening opportunities and register to participate in a few keystrokes.
Second, Trial Library solves the "last mile" problem by providing patients, many with limited economic means and resources, with navigation support to get to clinical trial sites regardless of distance. The company provides free "Ally" navigator services that are available 24/7 to direct patients to resources for travel, logistics, food, or other support needed. Trial Library also taps into many social determinants of health assessment tools to help personalize support.
Trial Library has the support of partners including the Association of Community Cancer Centers, UCSF, as well as advisors such as Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, President of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and noted health equity researchers like Dr. Lori Pierce from the University of Michigan and Dr. Robert A. Winn from Virginia Commonwealth University.
About Trial Library
Trial Library is an oncology clinical trials company helping patients, providers, and pharmaceutical sponsors of clinical trials. With an unprecedented level of investment in cancer research that is poised to produce a vast new array of therapeutic options, Trial Library seeks to improve access for all patients right when therapies are available. For more information, visit us at TrialLibrary.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
1 "MAKING THE CASE FOR ONCOLOGY CLINICAL RESEARCH" American Society of Clinical Oncology, May 2020. https://www.asco.org/sites/new-www.asco.org/files/content-files/research-and-progress/documents/2020-ASCO-RCF-MakingCaseOncologyResearch-AtaGlance.pdf
2 "Clinical Trial Enrollment of Racial, Ethnic, and Underrepresented Groups—Leveraging a Digital Infrastructure" JAMA Oncology, August 5, 2021. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/article-abstract/2782739
SOURCE Trial Library, Inc