Clinical Trial Switch-up
San Francisco-based startup Vial is a CRO, or contract research organization. In the life sciences space, these firms provide research services on a contract basis.
Founded in 2020, Vial aims to better organize the clinical trial process that drug companies utilize in their bids to gain FDA approval. When a new drug is developed, the clinical trial essentially determines whether it can be sold on the open market in pursuit of profit. On Wednesday, Vial announced a fundraising round of $67 million.
Room for Improvement
Clinical trials represent an ongoing challenge for biotech firms. They’re capital-intensive, time-consuming, and require specific execution. Finding the right candidates for tests is difficult. Vial aims to become a central hub that the industry can use in order to become more efficient.
Vial isn’t alone in trying to fill this niche. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA has allowed trials to be done remotely, changing the process significantly. Private equity has been flowing into the space. According to Crunchbase, the sector received over $2 billion in new funding in 2021.
Pharmacies Getting Involved
Biotech companies have a financial incentive to get through the clinical trial process as quickly as possible, in a race against the clock. Once patents expire after around 20 years, generic drugs can be made.
The change in the FDA’s rules regarding clinical trials have attracted the attention of more established companies. Walmart (WMT), CVS (CVS), and Walgreens (WBA) have all launched efforts aimed at identifying clinical trial candidates. It’s another example of how our personal information — in this instance, medical data — is an extremely valuable commodity.
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