Amid virtual trial craze, Science 37 earns unicorn status and a trip to Nasdaq on the back of SPAC deal
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As the Covid-19 pandemic made conventional trials impossible for some drugmakers, more and more companies moved to decentralize their clinical studies, accelerating business for tech developers like Science 37. Leveraging that boost, the company is on the verge of a SPAC merger, landing unicorn status and its very own stock ticker.
Science 37 is set to merge with LifeSci Acquisition II Corp., which raised just over $80 million in an IPO back in November, it announced on Friday. The deal — expected to close in Q3 — will value Science 37 at $1.05 billion, and set it up for $200 million in PIPE funding from a slate of investors including Redmile and BlackRock.
“While nearly all traditional sites are back open around the world, our first quarter was by far our company’s best, and we see that trend continuing in the future,” CEO David Coman told Endpoints News in an email.
The company got its start back in 2014 and struck a partnership with Novartis four years later to launch 10 virtual clinical trials in which patients could participate via cell phone. The system can capture and generate data from things like electronic clinical outcomes assessments, eConsent and real-world evidence. It employs the help of not only devices, but also telemedicine investigators, mobile nurses and remote coordinators.
According to a report Science 37 conducted itself, Coman says more than 80% of biopharma companies plan on conducting a clinical trial using at least some decentralized elements this year, and nearly 60% don’t have the internal capabilities to do it.
“Our clinical trial Operating System (OS) can enable significantly faster enrollment, retain patients at a meaningfully higher rate, and achieve higher enrollment among diverse patient populations—all helping to accelerate the development of therapies that impact patients’ lives,” he said.
In addition to Redmile and BlackRock, the PIPE funding also includes Casdin Capital, dRx Capital, LifeSci Venture Partners, Lux Capital, Mubadala Capital, Perceptive Advisors, PPD, Pura Vida Investments, RS Investments, RTW Investments, Samsara BioCapital, and Surveyor Capital.
The deal also includes another $125 million in performance-based equity consideration. The company will list under the ticker $SNCE.
Decentralized trials have seen massive growth in the last year. Back in February, Dublin-based CRO Icon struck a deal to acquire PRA Health Sciences for $12 billion to focus on decentralized trials — a move which would combine the 5th- and 6th-largest CROs by 2020 revenue. Last month, Thermo Fisher announced plans to acquire PPD — a CRO that boasts decentralized trial capabilities — for $17.4 billion. And back in November, software provider Medable bagged a $91 million Series C to build out its virtual trial platform.