Outsourcing, Venture

Clinical trial disruptor Science 37 in talks with SoftBank on a $150M investment — Recode

Just a few months after pharma giant Novartis partnered up with Science 37 on its virtual approach to clinical trial work, Recode reports that the would-be CRO disruptor is in talks with SoftBank execs on a $150 million investment.

Noah Craft, Science 37 CEO

SoftBank, which provided Roivant chief Vivek Ramaswamy with more than a billion dollars to invest in biotech, evidently has been drawn to Science 37’s promise that it can efficiently and effectively recruit patients for clinical trials without forcing them into a trial site. Using new telemedicine tech, they say they can accumulate clean datasets to show whether or not new drugs are working — hoping to disrupt the big players who now dominate the CRO world.

Quoting sources, Recode notes that Science 37 is planning to value itself at $300 million for this deal, up about $100 million since Lux Capital and Google’s GV helped back the company a little more than a year ago. 

SoftBank’s big, $98 billion Vision Fund has made repeated forays into the world of drug development and technology. Aside from Roivant, the group participated in the massive $500 million round to back George Scangos’ Vir, which is working on an infectious disease drug pipeline.

The CRO business has undergone a decade of shaking out as private equity groups moved in to buy up the outsourcing companies and meld them into a set of large and aggressive global players, often with big staffs. Shaking them up with a new tech approach won’t come easily in an R&D world where safe and dependable are key watchwords in the high-risk world of drug development.

But Science 37 continues to build up a head of steam to give it a try.


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