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MolecularMatch Uses Health IT Software for Better Clinical Trials

Connecting cancer patients to clinical trials that could help them is an expensive and inefficient process. Houston’s MolecularMatch says they have a better way, an approach that combines Google search with Match.com.

“What we do is take publicly available information and package it so that it’s actionable,” says MolecularMatch CEO Kevin Coker. “We distill the information that’s out there, render it out to people in an easy-to-digest manner.”

The Houston startup is bringing a consumer-friendly approach to what is now an opaque and hard-to-access market. With a few clicks of the mouse, MolecularMatch says its platform enables oncologists to quickly find clinical trials and FDA-approved therapies best-suited for their patients’ treatment.

Right now, caregivers cross-reference clinical trials through a pen-and-paper process unique to each hospital. “Clinical trials are broken,” Coker says. “They’re so inefficient and they’re expensive.”

MolecularMatch has developed software that will seek out and aggregate raw clinical trial information from public sources, such as government databases like clinicaltrials.gov, to create an easy-to-use online database where patients, with certain cancer mutations and other health characteristics, can be paired with the clinical trial that will most help them. The software also tracks patient response data. The site is expected to go live by July.

MolecularMatch isn’t the only group that’s finding clinical trials—the most expensive part of bringing a new drug to market—as fertile ground for innovation.

In 2007, the FDA and Duke University Medical Center established a public-private collaboration called the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) to make clinical trials more efficient. The effort has more than 60 members today.  Two years ago, 10 pharmaceutical giants formed a nonprofit group, Transcelerate BioPharma, with the goal of accelerating the pace of drug development by, most notably, improving the connection between clinical trials and patients.

This past February, I spoke to Asker Ahmed, founder of Dallas-based Clinata, another online portal with software designed to offer caregivers an opportunity to browse patient demographics, geographic locations, and other data related to choosing clinical trial sites. Ahmed, who says he saw the inefficiencies inherent in … Next Page »

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